Arturo Herrera

Performance Art

The National Bird

El Aguila, photomontage, 2019, work in progress.

In my most recent series entitled, “The National Bird,” I use performance art and photography to disguise myself as a migratory animal. I am building on the premise that wild creatures can legally cross territorial boundaries without checkpoints, anytime and anywhere. Each piece begins with a composition of masks and props and progresses through a series of personal rituals, songs, sounds, and movements that I perform live in front of an audience and other times in front of a camera. As part of documenting this process, I capture the nuances and performative behaviors of the subject animal in each scene and sometimes adapt qualities assigned to the animal by history and sometimes governments. This helps me to articulate details of broad and complex subjects such as immigration, race, and sexuality. These performative exercises attempt to illuminate the privilege that these animals have pertaining to choice of travel, location of settlement, and ease of traversing borders, both in the physical and the imaginary worlds.

Looking For America - Local art exhibition, dinner, and dialogue: What does it mean to be American in Detroit? Performance art, El Coyote, with an interaction with the audience having dinner, I exchanged hard-boiled eggs for documents like passports, IDs, credit cards, birth certificates, and social security cards- drawing focus to the idea of value to all critical pieces of identification. 08/14/19

El Coyote, 0:57 sec, excerpt. Detroit Historical Museum, video by Looking For America

The National Bird, performance art. 7th Annual Sidewalk Festival, Peace, Power, Utopia @sidewalkdetroit - public interaction, August 3, 2019. Selected images, digital and Polaroids.

A photo essay. The National Bird, through the Columbia and Snake River, July 10 - 22, 2019. Selected Images.
“...I am currently traveling on a boat on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, doing my photo research-based project, which follows the path that Lewis and Clark took on their first American expedition of the West in the late 1700s. As part of the series The National Bird, I am capturing experiential moments disguised as the Macaw, the national bird of Honduras, in places of national interest such as monuments, national parks, and tourist attractions.”

La Guacamaya

La Guacamaya, performance art. Plaster, acrylics, gems, wire, and leather. Print 16 x 20” (40.64 x 50.8cm.) Digital medium format. 2018. Tags: diplomat, friendly, pet, loud.

La Guacamaya, performance photography, single digital images, medium format.  GIF file 0:20 sec on Loop. 2018.

El Águila

El Águila, mask, work in progress. Performance art. Sketch, acrylic on paper. 8 x 8.25” (20.32 x 20.95 cm.) 2019.

El Coyote

El Coyote, performance art, 2019. Work in progress. Tags: trickster, hunter day/night, Coyote/Fox/Wolf, smuggler.

El Ganso

El Ganso, “landing.” 12.25 x 15.25” (31.11 x 39.49 cm) Performance art. 2019.

El Ganso, #03, #01, digital medium format. 7 x 7” (17.78 x 17.78 cm). 2019. Tags: front line fighter, unafraid.