Latinx Artist Fellowship

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Tanya Aguiñiga

Craft-based artist and activist

Los Angeles, CA

Tanya Aguiñiga

Instagram @tanyaaguiniga

An artist, activist, and craftsperson, I work with traditional craft materials like natural fibers and collaborate with other artists and activists to create sculptures, installations, performances, and community-based art projects. Drawing on my upbringing as a binational citizen, who daily crossed the border from Tijuana to San Diego for school, my work speaks of the experience of a divided identity and aspires to tell the larger and often invisible stories of the transnational community.

Tanya Aguiñiga (she/her) was born in San Diego, California, and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. Aguiñiga began her career by creating collaborative installations with the Border Art Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo, an artist collective that addressed political and human rights issues at the U.S.-Mexico border. In her installations, sculptures, and performances, Aguiñiga often works with cotton, wool, and other textiles, drawing upon Mesoamerican weaving and traditional forms to explore the psychological, political, and environmental impact of border policy on people’s lived experiences to find ways of living together in border communities that restore justice, understanding, and bring healing opportunities to all who are directly impacted by border policy through craft. In 2016, in response to the deep polarization about the U.S.-Mexico border, Aguiñiga created AMBOS (Art Made Between Opposite Sides), an ongoing series of projects that provides a platform for binational artists, organizes humanitarian aid for migrants and provides a trauma-informed ceramics program for LGBTQ+ Asylum Seekers at two shelters in Tijuana. 

Aguiñiga’s work is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum of Art and Design, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Mint Museum among others. Selected awards and fellowships include 2021 Heinz Award, 2020 City of Los Angeles Individual Arts Awards, 2018 Americans for the Arts Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities, 2015 Creative Capital, 2006 United States Artists Fellowship.

Selected Works

Four hands hold each of the corners of a rectangular piece of fabric that is covered with striated brown pigment.
A person suspends a vertical rope made of colorful fibers from the top of a white wall. Several others hang suspended nearby.
A person wears a beige unitard with a clear pouch attached to the front containing a fragment of the border wall.