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Adriana Chavez - Performance Artist

My purpose is to investigate identity and belonging through a complex practice that incorporates performance art, mask making, collage, movement, and sculptural installation. One of the main focuses of my work is a clownish character I developed, named Juan Chico. This disruptor and wild-card of a character is inspired by the tender and messy men in my family; the drinkers, the dreamers, the cheaters, and the mustached macho men. Like the archetype of the trickster, Juan Chico has the potential to challenge social norms, press against and subvert hierarchical systems, reflect the flaws of human nature, and reveal humanity's potential for growth, goodness, and change. Juan Chico's stories are the stories of America, the stories of immigrants, stories of queerness, stories of self acceptance, stories of humanity and all of its complexities.


As Juan Chico, I embody protagonists of non-linear narratives connecting the sacred and the profane, the grotesque and the transcendent. I use humor and play as devices for exploring nostalgia, myth, metaphor, and the absurd. Staging Juan Chico either as the main actor of audience-engaging, secular rituals, or as the irreverent, substitute cast of historical paintings and other modern imagery, I seek to re-appropriate and unsettle cultural stereotypes. Reclaiming cultural and familial heritage through the use of my alter ego, I affirm joy and resilience while actively building empathy and connection.

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