Daniel Esquivia Zapata

In Residence June 3, 2024
- July 31, 2024

Artist and professor Daniel Esquivia Zapata ventures into the realms of memory and narrative through a captivating residency project set to unfold at 701 CCA from June 3rd to July 30th.

Daniel Esquivia Zapata (he/him) is an Afro-Colombian artist born in San Jacinto, Bolivar, Colombia. His work explores ideas about historical memory, official historical narratives, and what he calls the politics of remembering. He does this through life-size figurative. drawings that combine historical texts, the human body, plants, and animals to generate strong fictional spaces that work as poetic imagery probing the dynamics of narratives in history and historical memory.

Daniel has lived his life between Colombia and the USA, first arriving in the US when he was 16 to study at Benedict College in South Carolina, an HBCU that awarded him a full scholarship to pursue his BA in art. Daniel later received his MFA in Drawing from the New York Academy of Art in New York City. Shortly after graduation from his MFA, Daniel moved back to Colombia with his wife to exhibit and teach for 10 years. Recently Daniel accepted a job at Auburn University in Alabama and moved back to the USA to work and exhibit from his new home in the US South. Daniel has exhibited in different galleries in the USA, St Barths, and Colombia, including the Richard Demato Gallery, Mediallia Gallery, and Eden Rock Gallery. Daniel received a Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center in 2021 and was recently awarded a residency at Santa Fe Art Institute in 2023.In Daniel's life, a multiplicity of narratives and multinational experiences has made him think deeply about the dynamics of discourse and narratives in our societies, especially as an Afro-Latino in the Americas. For Daniel, the intersection of different identities has profoundly influenced his work. His experiences as the son of a human rights lawyer and a social worker in a multiethnic and multiracial family in Colombia; as a victim of forced displacement from his hometown in 1989; as an Afro-Colombian who studied at a HBCU in the US South; and as a citizen living in Colombia and grappling with the legacies and present realities of its civil war have all presented points of encounter with the forces of history’s multiple faces—unofficial, alternative, contested, surviving—that build and situate someone’s identity.

Artist Statement

Daniel’s work explores ideas about historical memory, official historical narratives, and what he terms the politics of remembering. He does this through life-size figurative drawings that combine historical texts, the human body, plants, and animals to generate strong spaces that work as poetic imagery, probing the dynamics of narratives in history and historical memory. This represents an exercise not only of why and what, but also of how we remember, especially in societies with conflicting narratives, obfuscated historical memories, and legacies of colonialism.

This work has driven him to create images that replace the common container metaphor of memory with one that understands memory as something dynamic and interconnected; something alive, inhabited by ideas, narratives, and discourses that live, age, die (or are killed); something like an ecosystem of memories and narratives. With this work, he aims to explore the complexities of the processes of remembering and create images that uncover and define the powers at play in memory; memory’s ability to define us; and the fragility, dynamism, and interconnectedness of the narratives, ideas, etc. that inhabit these processes.

His work engages with what he calls political figuration, wherein, through life-size drawings of fragmented print and hand-written texts, bodies, and portraits, he aims to explore and interrogate the forces at play in his own historical reality, the clash of the official and un-official historical memories, and what constitutes a politics of remembering