Cesar Velez is a self taught painter and first generation immigrant from Mexico. Velez’s work draws from his personal experience growing up in the south and midwest United States as an undocumented immigrant (now DACA Receipient) living amongst American peers.
For Velez, his early childhood experiences were the last time he felt any semblance of true “freedom”. “Before I would learn about my immigration status, there were no limitations in mind. Only childhood freedom & wonder” Velez notes. Soon after entering into early adolescence, he quickly learned how extremely limited the opportunities were for his family to live a life without hardship & persecution.
In his new series titled “The Hidden Burden,” Velez paints scenes based on family photos from his early childhood in the mid-late 1990s shortly after his family arrived in the United States. “For me, they represent a time before I understood hardship. A time when I could play with my brothers and enjoy the obliviousness that accompanies childhood. Our joy and hope were not yet marred by our realities.”
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