"Sanctuary," 2018 (detail), Erick Antonio Benitez.
Focusing on contemporary issues, says artist Erick Antonio Benitez, brings an immediacy to artwork, a chance to immerse an audience, to inspire reflection, and -- when everything clicks -- to perhaps effect change in real time.
It's the final week for Esta Tierra Es Tu Tierra (This Land Is Your Land) in The Gallery at PCA&D, Benitez's multimedia exhibition on display since November. The Salvadoran-American artist's collection of photos, documentary film, and found objects document his travels over the length of the U.S.-Mexico border. Reflecting the stories of migrants, border agents, and Minuteman militia members, Esta Tierra Es Tu Tierra is a living archive of how contemporary American policy impacts and shapes the lives of those who experience it.
Based in Baltimore, Benitez earned a BFA in Painting from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2014. We talked to Benitez about the demands of focusing art on contemporary issues, his process of compiling many pieces into multimedia, multidisciplinary artwork, and the rewards of uncovering timeless themes living within real-time events: