Pilar Mehlis

I Belong Here...

May 11–June 23, 2016

Pilar Mehlis explores the transformative effect of immigration on an individual by juxtaposing elements of natural and human migrations.  Through the AntroFish figure her work metaphorically illustrates the many aspects of the immigration experience. 

Immigration is a transformative experience: it takes the original person and “dresses” them in new cultures, languages, sensations, ideas and attitudes.  This transformation creates a hybrid that often belongs to two places and cultures at once and yet not wholly to either. There is a collision between innocence and new experiences involved in such transitions.  Her work explores these frictions and the ideas of identity, sense of place, transformation and cultural hybridization with particular emphasis on her own transformative experience from being culturally Bolivian to becoming Canadian and how, through cultural narratives, those two identities are embodied within her.