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Art + Design

CWU Art Student Explores Cultural Identity in Powerful Mi Herencia exhibit

As a first generation Mexican/Guatemalan American woman living in the United States, Kiara Castro grew up within two different cultures. One that taught her to embrace and be proud of her heritage and the other that at times rejected that part of her and, in turn, made her want to do the same.

Kiara Castro, a Central Washington University art student, explores the conflicts of cultural identity in her profound solo senior exhibition, Mi Herencia. The opening reception begins at 5:00 p.m. on March 2, in Gallery 231, CWU 's student gallery.

Castro, who spent her childhood in Yakima and graduated from West Valley High School, explores themes of identity, heritage, and racial injustice in her work.

"Through digital photography, analog processes, sculpture, and ceramics, I create works that convey the struggle, pain, and hardship I and others like me have encountered, while simultaneously celebrating Latinx Heritage, including references to past ancestry," she stated."  

According to Castro, the use of family photos, religious iconography, physical pain, and cultural practices are derived from her heritage and personal experiences, and at times used as metaphorical expression. The masa or tortilla dough, in particular, is used as a representation of humanity. The inspiration comes from the ancient Mayan belief that the gods created the first humans from the masa.

Castro will graduate with a bachelor of fine arts degree in June 2018.

Gallery 231 is located on the CWU Ellensburg campus on the second floor of Randall Hall, 700 E. Dean Nicholson Blvd. The exhibit runs through March 9. Admission is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided at the opening. The gallery is open 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Gallery 231 is one of the first galleries devoted solely to student artwork in Washington State.

Parking in the CWU lots is free after 4:30 p.m. and on weekends, except in specially marked spaces and residence hall lots.

Photo:  "la deshumanización," digital photography, 36" x 26" 2018

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,

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