Rea de Guzman immigrated to the United States from the Philippines in 1999. She settled in San Francisco, California, and earned her BFA in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2009. She is currently a second-year graduate student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Printmedia Department. She is an interdisciplinary artist whose work employs printmedia techniques, painting, drawing, and sculpture. Her work explores psychological and socio-political themes surrounding migration, displacement, and liminal identity.

Personal Statement

My work explores the psychological and socio-political themes surrounding migration, liminal identity, cultural assimilation, and the Filipino diaspora, all tempered by my personal experience as a native Filipino (immigrant) living in the United States. Since childhood, I have been moving continuously—from city to rural environs within my native country, from my native country to my adopted foreign country, from city-to-city within my adopted country, and from my adopted country back to my homeland. These migrations—both planned and unplanned—created not only geographic shifts, but also an intricate familial and personal disconnect interposed with cultural fusion and perplexity. The seminal instance of these moves was my immigration to the United States at the age of fourteen, as I experienced a striking shift during the transition from childhood to adulthood. These complex strata of change within change are what I strive to capture in my work.

As a result, I explore themes of dynamic movement, transition, hegemonic pattern, assimilation, ruptures, and repudiation. Layered within these notions, the stark contrast in relationships of construction and deconstruction, permanence and temporality, reality and phantasm, as well as the complicit relationship between the colonizer and the colonized, play significant roles. Furthermore, I am drawn to fragmentation; it affords the mechanism to reform pieces into a new possibility. I find satisfaction in leaving parts of my work unfixed, allowing for further cyclic, open-ended movement and explorations.


Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.