Frost Art Museum FIU presents the photographs of Rafael Soldi in a solo exhibition on feelings about immigration and identity | FIU News

Artist Rafael Soldi examines the feeling of being rooted in one place or another but existing in the spaces in between with “Rafael Soldi: a body in transit”. The exhibition opens August 20 at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU. In his first solo exhibition at the museum, he explores how homosexuality and masculinity intersect with immigration, memory and loss.

“Soldi’s photographs are both powerful and intimate,” said Jordana Pomeroy, director of the Frost Art Museum. “They reflect a deep retrospection of the artist, a process that many go through, especially when experiencing displacement.”

The exhibition debuts at the Frost Art Museum and blends three interconnected series and includes new works – which combine image and text. Soldi’s works feature 19e techniques of the century of photoengraving and the contemporary photobooth. Each series offers deeply personal ruminations on identity while simultaneously presenting universal yet complex implications of fragility, struggle and resilience.

The exhibition features notable pieces including:

  • The 36 self-portraits that make up “Imagined Futures” reinvent the photo booth experience. Instead of striking hyperbolic or silly poses for the camera, Soldi appears with his eyes closed. The photo booth evokes a Catholic confessional and provides a space for nuanced reflection, and ultimately a mechanism to say goodbye to Soldi’s previous ideas about the future.
  • “Entre Hermanos” turns the camera on gay Latino immigrants who identify as men. The subjects, eyes closed, are portrayed with sensitivity as the portraits challenge traditional ideas of masculinity.
  • “Cargamontón” draws on vernacular video archives that reflect the artist’s experience at a Catholic school for boys in Lima, Peru, where rowdiness was commonplace. The artist explores how such seemingly playful activity can seem dangerous and threatening to some.

“I come from an immigrant family and my identity has always felt fleeting, like it was built from a collective memory,” Soldi said. “I was aware of my homosexuality in an abstract sense from an early age, and that difference added another layer that I never felt able to affirm. As is often the case with queer people, I felt that my identity existed in a slightly different dimension than others.

The artist will visit the exhibition on September 20 at 12 p.m.

About the artist
Rafael Soldi is a Peruvian-born artist and curator based in Seattle. He holds a bachelor’s degree in photography and curatorial studies from the Maryland Institute College of Art. He has exhibited internationally at the Frye Art Museum, American University Museum, Griffin Museum of Photography, ClampArt, Print Center, Museo MATE, Filter Space, and Burrard Arts Foundation, among others.

His work is in the permanent collections of the Tacoma Art Museum, the Frye Art Museum, the King County Public Art Collection, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Rafael’s work has been reviewed on ARTFORUM, The Seattle Times, The Boston Globe, Photograph Magazine, The Seen, Art Nexus and PDN. He is co-founder of the Strange Fire Collective, a project dedicated to highlighting the work of women, people of color, and queer and trans artists.

Mildred D. Field