Arleene Correa Valencia is a Mexican born artist living and working between San Francisco and Napa, California. In 2018 Correa de Valencia received her BFA from California College of the Arts, where she will also finish her MFA in 2020. As a recipient of DACA she has both worked and studied under this legal permit since 2012. Correa de Valencia is one of four children originally from Arteaga, Michoacán, Mexico. Her family migrated to the United States twenty-three years ago in 1997 and established themselves in California’s wine country: Napa Valley. Through painting, textiles, sculpture and found objects she seeks to investigate and question her political status as a registered “illegal alien” by drawing connections to those who are in similar legal confinements. Using her own narrative she touches upon themes of migration, human rights, hardship, discrimination, visibility, invisibility, the fear of deportation and separation. With her art practice Correa de Valencia aims to acknowledge a long history of oppression, resilience and undying strength reflected in her community.
Art+Action commissioned artist Arleene Correa Valencia and Ana Teresa Fernandez’s collaboration SOMOS VISIBLES / WE ARE NOT INVISIBLE. The ongoing project takes a political stance on visibility through the use of high-vis ready-to-wear safety gear present throughout many labor industries, as it relates to the invisibility of the undocumented in the U.S. In the context of the 2020 Census, the project seeks to engage undocumented communities in dialogue about their fears of being counted, seen, and having their voices heard to receive their fair share of resources. Upon demonstrating proof of completing the Census, the artists gave participants complimentary SOMOS VISIBLES sweatshirts.
Originally planned to be brought into neighborhoods—including the Mission (during Art+Action Coalition Partner Acción Latina’s bi-monthly community art event Paseo Artistico), SOMA (at YBCA), and Napa (at the Napa Valley flea market)—due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was reimagined online through a series of videos, in which the artists engaged in dialogue about how the Census impacts our most vulnerable. The videos—released as a part of Art+Action and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ art & civic online experience Come to Your Census: Who Counts in America?—demonstrated how to iron the phrases “SOMOS VISIBLES” and “WE ARE NOT INVISIBLE” on to high-vis sweatshirts, and how to make SOMOS face masks. The artists also were interviewed in the YBCA Zine: Part 1 + Part 2.
The project was made possible through the generous support of Levi’s. To receive a SOMOS VISIBLES sweatshirt, send proof that you’ve taken your 2020 Census before October 31 to email@example.com.