“Nancy Friedemann-Sanchez: Palimpsests” is the current exhibition being featured in the John A. Day Gallery, which hosts many exhibits throughout the year that feature both students and visiting artists.
Nancy Friedemann-Sanchez is a Colombian artist that now lives in Nebraska. She said the artwork featured is part of her visual novel that she has worked on while living in the Midwest.
“It’s a narrative about migration and of living between two languages and cultural memory,” she said.
Friedemann-Sanchez is from Bogota, Columbia, where she also studied art at La Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá. She then studied at Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles before traveling to New York to get her Masters degree from New York University. She has now lived in Nebraska for the past seven years.
Amy Fill, Interim Gallery Director, said she was drawn to Friedemann-Sanchez’s art when she saw it at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Neb. That was when she and the former Gallery Director decided to feature Friedemann-Sanchez’s art at USD.
“I think her work is really timely as we’re talking about colonialism and artworks,” Fill said. “I think we try to bring in a lot of diverse artists in the gallery so we want to reach out to Native cultures and more women and different identities to try to create some nice diversity in what we display.”
Friedemann-Sanchez said her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States, Colombia and Europe. Cory Knedler, Chair of the Department of Art, said having someone like Friedemann-Sanchez featured in the university galleries is important for students and the community.
“We always want the gallery exhibitions to be educational exhibitions, not only for the students but for the community at large as well,” Knedler said. “So having somebody come in who has traveled the world and is bringing parts of their travels and their philosophies on art and their own personal work to our gallery, it’s not only a treat for us but it’s real special for somebody to share all that information with us.”
Friedemann-Sanchez has an art career that spans thirty years, but she said she’s been an artist for as long as she can remember.
“As a child I loved painting, observing nature and I just knew I was an artist,” she said. “I never had a doubt.”
Friedemann-Sanchez said she is on chapter five of her visual novel and the art displayed in the gallery is an intersection of different chapters.
“I don’t know how many chapters it will be, but I’m exploring different themes, so I have influences,” she said. “Some are indigenous and colonial art from America. Some are minimalist art from the U.S. and feminist art from the U.S. So I marry cultural influences from North and South America to create a vision of the contemporary world while looking at the past.”
Friedemann-Sanchez said the message of her art is just to show people to look at the past to understand the present and “make visible what is invisible.”
“Art is something that is irrepressible in humans,” she said. “It’s an expression of our sensibility and sensitivity. It’s our desire and our need to create metaphor. To create deep meaning.”
On Jan. 17, Friedemann-Sanchez will be a visiting artist on campus as she speaks about her art before the closing reception later that day.
Knedler said it’s a great opportunity for the art department to have someone like Friedemann-Sanchez come speak.
“It’s great to see that in this moment of time we are having an artist in who is both a female artist, which about 65 percent of the art department are female students, so it’s great to have a female role model as an artist for our students,” Knedler said. “It’s also great to see the diversity of artists and the diversity in her artwork come in as our university is so heavily focused on inclusive excellence as well. We like to see that those artists are also getting a space in the galleries of the world right now. We’re kind of right on the pulse of what’s going on in the world with somebody like Nancy here.”