© 2018 by Nicolas Gonzalez-Medina

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     VIDA migrante

born in moroleon GUanajuato Mexico in 1986

migrated to pilsen chicago Illinois USA in 1992

living in oakland california since 2013

 

After migrating to the US. I was enrolled at jose clemente

Orozco arts and science academy in pilsen where i attended

for 8 years. a school filled with mosaic portraits of 

Mexican Artists, political revolutionaries and local chicanX Activists inspired

me and continue to inspire my own art and activism.

At the age of 11 i began going to gads hill community center in the summer

for the free lunch boxes and ended up taking art classes sponsored by the 

national museum of mexican art that helped start my art journey.

 

in the 7th grade we painted rEtablos on copper plates, A CLASS TAUGHT BY carlos cortez (a poetgraphic artistphotographermuralist and

political activist, active for six decades in the Industrial Workers of the

World). i painted a ratablo with a scenery of how i last imagined my hometown

in guanajuato with a bus flipping over depicting a recent accident my grandfather had in mexico. he chose a hand full to be on display at the national museum of mexican art for the dia de los muertos exhibit. on the day of the opening, after walking around with my family i asked the lady working at the gift shop if they were looking for volunteers and the next week I was there, with a

windex bottle wiping down shelves that had beautiful art for sale, surrounded by people who didn't know were helping me escape from all the things i was going through.

 

i began taking classes at Yollocalli Arts Reach, an award-winning youth initiative of the National Museum of Mexican Art in 1999 when i was 13, bringing a lot of opportunities to learn new mediums. taking art classes after school gave me the opportunity to get creative and embrace the artist that i was becoming.

my friends and mentors at yollocalli were amongst the first people i talked to about being undocumented and I began learning how to navigate the

system knowing that there will be many opportunities i can't take because

i don't qualify due to my status. No matter how many awards i received I

always knew i was going to have a difficult time doing what i love that I

decided to drop out of high school and started working.

 

i remember the first protest i went to was against the war in afghanistan. i

saw police beating innocent people who were just marching as helicopters encircled us making me feel that there was a war about to break out as police and protestors began to clash. i arrived home at 12:45 am, my dad yelled

at me and warned me that if he ever saw me at another protest it was going

to be my last day living under his roof, I was 15 years old.

my mother worked in a plastic factory for twelve years and was diagnosed with lung cancer when i was 18. She passed away in 2010 after a long battle. inspiring me to become more involved in migrant rights organizing where i was able to share my story of growing up undocumented in chicago and sharing my moms story of migrating from to this country and navigating the hospital as an undocumented immigrant. my father who was also undocumented passed away in 2015 leaving my sisters and I to take care and look after each other.

 

A few months after my mom passed away I "came out of the shadows' publicly declaring myself undocumented and unafraid in front of thousands of people

at federal plaza in downtown chicago. Followed by years of activism around

the country from walking 1600 miles sharing my story in different communities

to getting arrested in actions of civil disobedience in DC and Alabama.

Ive had a lot of great opportunities to learn first hand from other activists and political artists who are involved with different movements. giving me the opportunity to now pass on what i have learned. 

     the art i create

I make art as a political statement, I LOVE

TO CREATE bold faceS, SPEAKING UP, STARING

AT YOU WITH WITH THEIR HEADS HELP UP HIGH.

I FREESTYLE MOST OF MY ART, giving me the ability

to work freely and let my imagination take charge.

After my mom passed away i realized that I have 

this talent of creating on the spot.

Art has been my tool for healing and I want to show 

others its power. 

      Mission

to continue sharing my story of growing up undocumented in the US. as a tool to empower other undocumented people and people in the struggle to continue pushing for their dreams and aspirations. to continue creating art while

sharing my political art with different communities around the country.