Colorado Photographic Arts Center: Identity Experiences

At Colorado Center for the Photographic Arts (CPAC), Identity experiences features four artists from different cultures who explore themes of immigration, identity, home, memory, and the myth of the American Dream.

Exhibiting artists include Priya Suresh Kambli (Kirksville, Missouri)Vikesh Kapoor (Los Angeles), Emily Hanako Momohara (Cincinnati, Ohio), and Raphael Soldi (Seattle, Washington).

The exhibition presents a wide range of photographic approaches, including old stereographs, videos, portraits, mixed media and archival images from family albums.

“Each of the four artists in this exhibition shares a unique, deeply personal and thoughtful story that stands on its own,” said Samantha Johnston, Executive Director and Curator of CPAC. “But when looked at together, a larger story about immigration emerges – a story that is far more complex and nuanced than what we often see from politicians and mainstream media.”

For example, Priya Suresh Kambli came to the United States from Mumbai, India when she was 18 years old. In the only suitcase she brought with her was a family photo album which became the source of her series, Eye buttons.

“Using the photographic lens, I strive to understand the formation and erasure of identity that is an inevitable part of the migrant experience by providing a much-needed personal perspective on the fragmentation of family, identity and resulting culture,” she wrote. In contrast to these important matters, there is a sense of playfulness expressed through his use of bright colors, natural light and powerful pigments. His work “winks, nudges and inverts – suggesting joy – mixed with the loss and regret that accompany us all”.

At Vikesh Kapoor’s ongoing project See you at home is a personal account of family, memory, myth and melancholy surrounding the American Dream. In 1973, Kapoor’s parents emigrated from India to a small town of 10,000 people in rural Pennsylvania. By juxtaposing footage from Kapoor’s parents’ current lives in America with archival footage from their past, See you at home explores the dichotomies between home and country, freedom and isolation, collectivism and individualism.

by Emily Hanako Momohara series fruits of labor explores themes of immigration, identity and work within the framework of her own family narrative. Her great-grandparents left famine-stricken Okinawa, Japan for Hawaii. When they arrived, they found work on a pineapple plantation. Using images of agriculture and migration to unpack her personal and family history, Momohara allows us to critically reflect on the diverse immigrant experience in America.

Ultimately, Raphael Soldi is a Peruvian-born artist whose practice centers on how homosexuality and masculinity intersect with larger topics of immigration, memory and loss. His series Between Hermanos is the extension of a larger work, Imagined Futures, in which Soldi addresses the sense of grief shared by many immigrants for the countries they left behind. In Between HermanosSoldi invites gay Latino immigrants who identify as men to reflect on how each perceives their future as a young person in their home country and how that perception may have changed over time.

“It’s fascinating to me to see how photography not only helps bring these diverse stories to light, but also creates a safe space for conversation about immigration – one of the most politically controversial topics in America,” Johnston said.

About the artists

Priya Kambli completed his BFA at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and went on to receive an MFA in photography from the University of Houston. She is currently an art professor at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. In 2008, PhotoLucida presented him with a Book Publishing Award for his Color Falls Down project, published in 2010.

Vikesh Kapoor is a multidisciplinary artist from Sunset Pines, Pennsylvania, whose work examines race, class, and identity as a first-generation American. See you at home received curatorial support from the National Portrait Gallery, SFMoMA, LACMA, Tate Modern, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Andy Warhol Museum.

Emily Hanako Momohara has exhibited nationally, including at the Japanese American National Museum in a two-person exhibition titled Sucre|Islands. She has been a guest artist in several residency programs including the Center for Photography at Woodstock, Headlands Center for the Arts, Fine Arts Work Center and Red Gate Gallery Beijing. She lives and works in Cincinnati where she is an Associate Professor of Art at the Cincinnati Academy of Art and directs the photography major.

Raphael Soldi holds a BA 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, 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. He is the co-founder of the Strange Fire Collective, highlighting the work of women, people of color, and queer and trans artists.

More information:

Identity experiences
February 18 – April 12, 2022
The Colorado Center for the Photographic Arts (CPC)
1070 Bannock Street,
Denver CO, 80204

Michael E. Marquez