Subject #10, 2019
11 x 8½" Archival pigment print
8¼ x 6½" Image size
Edition of 22
Each print includes a certificate of authenticity, numbered and hand-signed by the artist.
About the Image
Belonging is intrinsic to our humanity and integral to our understanding of ourselves. While the need for community transcends time, the means to develop one's “tribe” has transformed from the physical to the digital realm and has subsequently impacted how we view ourselves in this interconnected world. Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, that value the visual image above all, have altered our sense of self and the very mechanisms for how we develop our external and internal identities and to which groups we belong.
El Pertenecer en Tiempos Modernos (Belonging in Modern Times) (2019-2020) explores social media platforms and examines their role in how we present ourselves, as well as how we externally validate our identity online. Inspired by the Cubist investigation of materiality and perspective, I create collaged portraits of subjects who utilize these platforms as a way to amplify the layers distancing the subjects’ IRL selves from their constructed selves online—underscoring the mutability of identity in the digital age. The individuals photographed were selected by an open call on social media platforms and were asked to wear a specific color clothing based on the colors of the logo of the social media they contacted me from. On the paper are the words of popular hashtags. Acting as an invisible tattoo, these words are aspirational, a call to wear the seal of the virtual tribe you wish to belong to.
Karen Navarro is an Argentinian-born multidisciplinary artist currently living and working in Houston. Navarro works on a diverse array of mediums that include photography, collage, the use of text and sculpture. Her image-based work and multimedia practice investigate the intersections of identity, representation, race, and belonging in reference to her migrant experience, her Indigenous identity and the history of colonization and its influence. Her constructed portraits are known for pushing the boundaries of traditional photography and the use of color. Navarro has won numerous awards and grants for her mixed-media photography, among them the Artadia Fellowship, the Top Ten Lensculture Critics' Choice Award, and the HCP Beth Block Honoraria, and has been shortlisted for several more, including the Photo London Emerging Photographer of the Year Award and The Royal Photographic Society, IPE 163. Her work has been exhibited in the US and abroad. Selected shows include Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), USA; Galerija Upuluh, Zagreb, Croatia; Holocaust Museum Houston, USA; Artpace, San Antonio, USA; Melkweg Expo, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Houston Center for Photography, Houston, USA; and Museo de la Reconquista, Tigre, Argentina. Navarro’s work has been featured in numerous publications, including ARTnews, The Guardian, Observer, Rolling Stone Italia, and Photo Vogue Festival Italia.