strip bg 4.jpg

Stephanie Aviles

2021

BIRTHRIGHT

Part One: "CO"

Click here to listen to the coquí calling!

Part Two: "KEE"

Statement

           In “Birthright,” I explore how the way others view us impacts how we choose to identify. My father grew up in New York City in a time of deep-seated racism against Puerto Rican people. Members of the Puerto Rican diaspora to NYC formed the highest concentration of Puerto Ricans in the US; having left their home to settle elsewhere, they and their descendants were dubbed “Nuyoricans,” and existed in a sort of limbo in which they were welcome in neither place. His whole life my father masked his heritage and worked to conform, conditioned to feel shame over his family’s migration. He confessed to me that over the last year, he’s said out loud the words “I’m Puerto Rican” more times than in his entire life combined. It made me proud that he had finally accepted that part of himself - so very proud, and so incredibly sad.   

           Using fashion and installation with emblematic imagery, I present a body of work dissecting the notions of identity and self-representation. I aim to understand how what we choose to show and not show the world reflects the value we’ve given ourselves.