continental , neon 2007

Continental 2007-10
neon powered by solar light
6 x 36 inches

Like many of Ibarra’s works, Continental, addresses issues of social, political, cultural and geographical boundaries. Vivo in America/Ilive in America is a neon text piece powered by solar energy. His application of the word America convolutes the idea of a unified continent. Used in common speech to refer to the United States of America, the term America seems to have been terriorially reduced to a specfic geopolitical context. The colloquial asricption results in a marginalization of all the other countries that form the continent and symbolically mark an economical and political weight.

As a native Puerto Rican, Ibarra’s proclamation of “Vivo in America” reclaims and amplifies the use of the word as a term of the Western Hemisphere. This simple act of enunciation resonates with ongoing issues of border regulations that restrict access to people and products based on national origins. As an artist, Ibarra employs a wide variety of means to rely social and political cognitions gathered from personal investigations. His work draws correlations between individual and national identities and makes larger observations respective to a global community.

text by Paola Santocoy

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