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caleb duarte piñon

Artist Statement

My current body of work consists of the figure, temporarily placed within sculptural installations in construction type frame-works such as beds of dirt - objects suggesting basic shelter and towers created out of drywall, found driftwood, and cement. Shifting between the traditions of painting, sculpture and performances, this interdisciplinary work focuses on the ritualistic aspects of theater along with public and architectural intervention, art education, and community participation in a shared authorship.


Therefore, the creation of “portable platforms” has become the focal point of my “object making” practice. They become the center for symbolic community actions addressing issues of global migration, social mobility, and the human capacity to transform moments of tragedy into possibilities for healing. The intention is to create objects and actions that explore the ideas of shelter and the basic necessities needed to keep the body functional.  


I have a specific line of aesthetic values when facilitating projects with communities in movement. Through workshops, interviews and intimate conversations, we collectively navigate towards a visual language that makes sense to us all. It is bold, unapologetic, site specific and surreal in the Latin American tradition that it injects magic into a logical moment of uncertainty.


Here, art does not sensationalize, romanticize, or simply illustrate the suffering of people, but art, created by people, demonstrates the extraordinary qualities humans’ posses. If indeed art is to create real social change, it is precisely when it demonstrates the ability for human beings to feel. By exposing not just the fragility and endurance of humans in struggle, but also the inhumane treatment of the most vulnerable amongst us, we can then open up for the possibilities for change by enacting a dignified rage and a level of empathy not visible until the arts participate.


“Duarte melds contemporary art concerns and an updated social realism into a new and compelling synthesis that is simultaneously passionate and sober, and both timely and timeless. In an era governed by jingoist fantasy and the exploitation of social and economic division, he reinserts politics —without rancor or false theatricality— into art and reasserts our common humanity.” Dewitt Cheng, Art Ltd Magazine 2007