Guadalupe Mother with Immigrant Son Dead in ICE Detention
New Orleans, Louisiana
José Torres-Tama studied traditional drawing at the Arts Students League in New York with renowned master Robert Beverly Hale. The Joan Mitchell Foundation in New York awarded him and the Ogden Museum publication funds for his art book New Orleans Free People of Color & Their Legacy, which documents his colorful pastel portraits of 18th and 19th century Creoles of color who challenged the institutional prejudices of their times. The Ogden presented these works-on-paper for Torres-Tama’s first museum solo exhibit in 2008; the show then traveled to Dillard University Gallery, the Alexandria Museum of Art, and back to New Orleans at Le Musée du f.p.c. Historic House Museum. In 2018, Torres-Tama’s solo exhibition of large mixed media works-on-paper, titled Hard Living in the Big Easy: Immigrants & the Rebirth of New Orleans, debuted at the UNO Saint Claude Gallery.
Joan Mitchell Center Residency, 2020
I cannot bask in a privilege that I'm not afforded to make art for art's sake when the attacks on my Brown body and my immigrant community are far from abstract...I create visual narratives of the most vulnerable in our society, and employ the European portraiture tradition to elevate a working class immigrant people.”