Juana Valdes’ multi-disciplinary practice combines several documentary mediums to interrogate their associated histories in post-colonial America and contemporary representations of what constitutes “the other” in white America. Her work is at the intersection of conceptual art, creative nonfiction, and social practice to explore race, transnationalism, gender, and labor in the global south. This approach places her work in dialogue with contemporary artists who reconstitute discarded histories, reexamine the imagined past, and explore the Black experience and ancestral inheritance; The works center the voices of BIPOC relative to cultural artifacts to locate the social-political discourse within material culture.
Valdes was born in Cuba and grew up in Miami. She works between Miami and Amherst where she is an Associate Professor in the Art Department, UMASS. Valdes holds an M.F.A. in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, a B.F.A. in Sculpture at Parsons School of Design in 1991, and attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1995.