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Juana Valdes, a Cuban-born installation artist now based in New York City, will present a public slide lecture about her work and meet with students at Lafayette College Thursday, Feb. 17.

Valdes will speak at 12:15 p.m. in the Williams Center for the Arts. The presentation is free and open to the public. Lunch may be brought or purchased for $3.

Following her talk Valdes will meet with Lafayette’s advanced art students in their studios, to speak with them about the extensive, varied projects they are doing to qualify for special honors when they graduate.

Generation ñ magazine wrote, “Those moments when everything seems so banal and obvious, and you think you’ve got it all figured out, people like Juana Valdes are on this earth to bring you right back to it, and you’d be wise to thank your luck stars. Her art humbles even the most prosaic of spirits, not only in terms of its aesthetic quality, but also in its content.”

“My work centers on the shifting field of the familiar and the mixing and colliding of cultural expectations,” says Valdes. “The complex mixing of spaces: the public space, the institution, framed and isolated; private space, domestic, interior, personal. The places where culture and convention are enacted through daily life: language, clothing, furniture, the interior, the home. In representing the familiar, these objects, the material of my work, invite the spectator into the work, where association and memory are activated.”

Valdes received a bachelor of fine arts degree in sculpture from the Parsons School of Design in 1991 and a master of fine arts from the School of Visual Arts in 1993. In 1995, she was awarded a Cosby Fellowship to attend Showhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She participated in the 1997-98 P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center International and National Studio program in New York, and is a recipient of a Pollack-Krasner grant. Her works have shown in group and solo exhibitions in Belgium, Arizona, Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Valdes’ involvement in the arts extends outside the boundaries of her studio as an artist-curator. In 1994, as founder and director of NAW Gallery, she presented the works of emerging American and international artists. She has lectured at colleges, and curated and exhibited the works of artists in alternative spaces and new venues in New York City. As co-founder of the Umbra Arts organization, Valdes is working on expanding the dialogue of visual arts within the African Diaspora.

For more information, contact Jim Toia, visiting assistant professor of art and director of Lafayette’s community-based teaching program, (610) 330-5577.

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