Frost Art Museum FIU debuts Rafael Soldi’s Sentiments of Immigration and LGBTQ Identity

Written By Shanieya Harris
September 13, 2022 at 2:12 PM

Rafael Soldi, #106 from Imagined Futures, Gelatin silver print from photobooth, 2 x 1.5 inches, unique, Courtesy of the artist.

Rafael Soldi presents his first solo exhibition of photographs, “A Body in Transit,” at Florida International University’s Frost Art Museum. Soldi’s work illustrates sentiments regarding topics of immigration and identity.

Soldi is an artist and curator based in Seattle from Lima, Peru. In his teenage years, he moved to the United States where his passion to become an artist persisted. Soldi later graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in photography curatorial studies.

Soldi says, “Art is all I have ever done and could picture myself doing!” This new exhibition reflects the beauty of his journey that made possible the work showcased at the museum.

Amy Galpin, Chief Curator at Frost Art Museum FIU states, “I’ve been watching Rafael’s work for a few years and an opportunity arose this fall to present his first Museum solo exhibition as part of the museum’s first year experience series. As a museum on campus, we hope to present projects that connect with our students and with the greater community. We believe in the transformative power of art.”

The current exhibition “Rafael Soldi: A body in transit” pays homage to identity, homeland, and the future by highlighting three sections, titled “Imagined Futures,” “Entre Hermanos,” and “Cargamontón”.

Rafael Soldi, #139 from Imagined Futures, Gelatin silver print from photobooth, 2 x 1.5 inches, unique, Courtesy of the artist.

“Imagined Futures” is a collection of 36 self-portraits that reinterprets the photo booth experience in the form of the Catholic confessional. It’s where Soldi chose to reflect and reconnect with his life. He felt as though he was fixing a broken relationship with his homeland and personal identity that was left behind. It gave him a chance to mourn and answer the questions: “What if I never had to leave? What if I had the opportunity to be who I am today where I was? What would my life look like?”

Rafael Soldi, Francisco from Entre Hermanos, Archival pigment print, 2018, 24 x 30 inches, edition 1 of 10, Courtesy of the artist.

“Entre Hermanos” is one of the newest works in Soldi’s oeuvre, showcasing Latino immigrants who identify as queer and male, interpreted in the same reflective sense as “Imagined Futures”. The artist was able to partner with a Seattle based Organization, Entre Hermanos, who services the Latino LGBTQ community. A collective of people associated with the organization was able to show their faces and share their story as a tribute to Soldi’s work.

Rafael Soldi, Cargamontón (CM01), 27 1/2 x 34 inches, Aquatint Photogravure, Courtesy of the artist.

“Cargamontón” reflects the specific memory of the artist’s time in a Catholic all-boys school in Peru where physical contact and toxic masculinity was prevalent. The images represent violence in the courtyard showing abstract bodies intertwined. Soldi explains, “For many kids playing a sport and being violent is specifically a tool for touching one another to experience intimacy. In some cases, many lack that and this specific memory addresses the issue at large.”

His work showcases his experiences; the choices made were very intentional and each exceeds his own personal experience. Soldí explains, “I am a firm believer that the more specific and personal something is, the more universal it becomes. The more you begin to talk about topics such as immigration and queerness in more than a broad sense, it creates a discussion that exceeds my own life.”

The exhibition challenges the viewer to imagine the future;  to imagine a world that disables societal constructs and allows everyone to have an identify of their own.

The artist Rafael Soldi will offer a tour of the exhibition on September 20, 2022 at 12 p.m. The exhibition is on view until Sunday, December 4, 2022.

Join artist Rafael Soldi on September 20 at 12 p.m. as he tours the exhibition.

WHAT: Rafael Soldi: A body in transit. (Curator Tour)
WHERE: Frost Art Museum FIU
WHEN: 12p.m. September 20th, 2022
TICKETS: Free Entry
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