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Cultural Collections

U-M exhibition challenges social constructs pertaining to individual and collective identity

By Stephanie Harrell

The James and Anne Duderstadt Center opened in 1996 as the Media Union and will mark its 25th anniversary with an open house-style week of events Oct. 4-8. (Photo courtesy of Duderstadt Center staff)

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ANN ARBOR—Los Angeles-based artist Shizu Saldamando’s modern portraits create new ways of seeing and being seen, rendering her subjects visible to new audiences and reflected in contemporary culture.

“Portrait of Taco,” one of Saldamando’s portraits featured in “When This is All Over/Cuando Esto Termine”

“When This is All Over/Cuando Esto Termine” will be on view Nov. 2-Dec. 10 at the University of Michigan’s Institute for the Humanities Gallery.

The subjects of Saldamando’s portraits are often-overlooked communities of color, punks, artists, friends, family, activists and queers. Working from informal snapshots, she merges painting and collage, often using origami paper, glitter or gold leaf in her compositions, many of which are painted on wood or found surfaces.

Saldamando’s practice is informed by hip-hop, punk rock and the post-punk era. Her deep roots in the LatinX artist and queer club scene of Los Angeles is as integral to her work as her family’s history of incarceration in Japanese internment camps in the U.S. during WWII.

“Each work feels up-close, immediate, intimate, honoring family, friends and peers from her own creative community, those she admires and appreciates,” said Amanda Krugliak, curator of the Institute for the Humanities Gallery. “It’s personal, even during recent times of social distance.”

A special evening viewing with Saldamando in conversation with Krugliak takes place at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Institute for the Humanities Gallery, located at 202 S. Thayer St. in Ann Arbor. The gallery is free and open to the public weekdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

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