Arturo Herrera

The National Bird

Image: The Coyote, from the series, The National Bird. Digital file, work in progress.

"The National Bird" is an experimental performance series where I am disguised as a migratory animal. I build on the premise that wild creatures can legally cross territorial boundaries without checkpoints, anytime and anywhere. The piece begins by establishing its surroundings as the particular animal, and on some occasions, negotiating the space by interacting with another animal from the series. These personal rituals, sounds, and movements are performed in front of an audience and, at other times, in front of a camera. As part of this process, I speak of the nuances and performative behaviors of the subject animal in each scene and adapt qualities assigned to the animal by its character, history, and sometimes governments, related to immigration. These performances illuminate the privilege these animals have in their choice of travel, location of settlement, and ease of traversing borders, both in the physical and 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 the staff from the show “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.