Cornelio Campos’ collection, “La Esperanza y El Sacrificio,” which translates to “Hope and Sacrifice,” shows the local artist’s perspective on the life and experiences of immigrants.
He will be speaking about his artwork at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Union.
Campos himself came to America from Cherán, Mexico, after he finished high school at age 18, not knowing a word of English.
Though he struggled to learn a new language and adapt to living in a different country, Campos has turned his trials into an opportunity to share the hopes and struggles of immigrants with people who have never had to face that challenge.
Jessica Head met Campos during her first-year seminar and has been working closely with him to bring his art to campus.
Head said she was so inspired by Campos’ message and artwork that she collaborated with him and contacted the school over break to set up the exhibit.
Campos said Head is helping portray the strife of immigrants.
“She wants to share the struggles of immigrants,” he said.
“I think the purpose of this exhibit is to begin a dialogue.”
Carolina Hispanic Association has been advertising the event on its Facebook page in an effort to draw students to the exhibit.
“This show provides pieces that can serve to start a conversation about many current events, and also garner an emotional response from those who have had similar journeys,” the page said.
Campos also had praise for UNC’s support of the arts.
“I believe they support locals artists — local art hardly anybody knows,” he said.
Head praised the bright colors and unique imagery of Campos’ paintings.
These aspects are unique because Campos said he draws inspiration from his home of Mexico and other Spanish-speaking regions.
Campos said he never received formal painting lessons, but a person in his hometown was taking art lessons and was willing to share what he was learning with the young artist.
First-year student Eddy Fernandez said he is impressed by how creative Campos has been in sharing his story and his heritage. dir TN
“I know with a lot of Hispanics, it’s kind of like they try to get their story out there to try to make a difference in policy here in the United States,” Fernandez said.
He said many Hispanics will become politically active or write in newspapers. But he has never seen someone use art to get the message across.
He is impressed by Campos’ success in arriving in a new country and building himself a life and a career.
“I think his story is a pretty good example of what the American Dream is,” he said.
Students should expect to see unique, vivid artwork that tells the story of building a new life in the United States.
The pieces include imagery of the Statue of Liberty, the American flag, skeletons from Día de los Muertos and Hispanic immigrants working alongside famous American landmarks.
Campos currently lives in Durham and said he is glad local art galleries offer the opportunity to exhibit his art.
“I’m going back to where I started to get known.”