Philly Latino artist wins Robert Rauschenberg Fellow for her social commitment.
Michelle Angela Ortiz, a native from South Philly born to Latino immigrants, is one of the nine artists from around the country awarded $100,000 for their demonstrated commitment to social engagement.
Michelle Angela Ortiz, a native from South Philly, born to a Puerto Rican father and a Colombian mother, is one of the nine American artists awarded this year with the prestigious Robert Rauschenberg Foundation ‘Artist as Activist” Fellowship.
The grant provides up to $100,000 over two years, along with access to opportunities for professional advancement, to independent artists and art collectives with a demonstrated commitment to social engagement in their creative work.
This year, specifically, the foundation focused on artists that draw specific attention to the ways in which the prison-industrial complex disproportionately affects generations of immigrants and people of color in the United States.
Ortiz, 38, grew up a block away from the Italian Market, and she still leaves nearby with his husband and 3-year old son, as reported in The Inquirer.
As an artist and a child of immigrants, she has always been interested in immigration issues. Her recent work focuses on the issue of mass detentions and deportations.
Ortiz is the author of the temporary installation outside the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) headquarters in Philadelphia, where it reads, in yellow capital letters: “We Are Human Beings.”
The installation is part of Familias Separadas, a series of temporary site-specific public art works created by Ortiz that mark the locations and documents stories of immigrant families affected by deportations in the city of Philadelphia. The main goal of the project is to shift the focus on the statistics/ numbers of deportations and see the father, mother, brother that has been torn apart from their families.
According to The Inquirer, “for the last eight years, she has worked as a cultural envoy in different American Embassies, like Mexico, Cuba, and Argentina.”
Among the nine artists awarded there is another artist from Philadelphia, Jesse Krimes, 34.