Lorena Molina is a Salvadoran multidisciplinary artist and educator. She is an Assistant Professor of Photography and Digital Media in the School of Art at the University of Houston. She’s also the founder and the director of Third Space Gallery, a community space and gallery that supports and highlights BIPOC artists in Cincinnati.
Through the use of photography, video, performance and installation, she explores identity, intimacy, pain, and how we witness the suffering of others. The work interrogates relationships and the formation of relationships as political acts that are guided by negotiations of power and privilege.
At the core of her work is an exploration of spatial inequalities and the challenges that oppressed groups face in constructing place and establishing a sense of belonging. The work is driven by a deep sense of displacement experienced after a 12-year-old civil war forced her and her family to migrate to the United States. Most of her work stems from a need to find and build community in a way that it’s both tender, accountable, challenging through difficult conversations that makes everybody involved actively question their position and privileges in society.
Her current work looks at identity in the margins. She views the margins both as a place where extreme violence and pain happens, but also as a place for resisting, dreaming, healing, and thriving.
She received her Master of Fine Art degree from the University of Minnesota in 2015 and her Bachelor of Fine Art from California State University, Fullerton, in 2012. Molina has been a recipient of the Diversity of Views and Experiences fellowship, The Christopher Cardozo Fellowship, (Two) Truth and Reconciliation grant from Artswave , and The Kala Art Institute fellowship. She has exhibited and performed both nationally and internationally, such as the Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, The Kemper Museum, 621 Gallery, The Carnegie, Covington, KY, Vox Populi, FSU Museum of Fine Arts, The Delaplaine Art Center, The Beijing Film Academy and all over the piazzas of Florence, Italy.
In the classroom, she works with students to understand the way that images are laden with history and vocabulary. Images tell stories, but who gets to tell the story matters.
All work © 2021 by Lorena Molina / All rights reserved.