Seattle Artist and Curator Rafael Soldi Discusses His Art in Recent Lecture


Photo Courtesy of Rafael Soldi art website

By Samuel Cash, Reporter

Rafael Soldi, a Peruvian-born artist, strives to create relatability in his artwork by pulling from his personal experiences. As an immigrant and queer person, he hopes the authenticity of his artwork will raise the curtain on difficult social topics and resonate with others

“I want people to be able to see my work and think of their own life.”

Soldi, a Seattle-based artist, and curator, just opened up his exhibition, Mother Tongue, in EWU’s Gallery of Art last Thursday, Jan. 26th. Soldi’s exhibition consists of three separate works: Imagined Futures, Entre Hermanos, and CARGAMONTÓN surrounding the topics of immigration, queer identity, and masculinity.

As a Peruvian-born, queer person and immigrant, “I always draw directly from my personal life to tell stories that feel authentic,” Soldi said.

Soldi’s works have been shown all over the country in museums such as the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts, the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Washington, the American University Museum in Washington D.C., and more. His artwork focuses on the topic of queerness and masculinity and how it collides with modern social topics. 

“Art has a special way of expressing topics that cannot be expressed in other ways,” Joshua Hobson, EWU Gallery of Art Director, said. “It can enact social change.”

Through a collaboration between Spokane Falls Community College and the Museum of Arts and Culture, EWU’s Art and Office of Diversity and Inclusion organizations introduced Rafael Soldi as the next artist in the Visiting Artist Lecture series. Soldi’s lecture covered his three installments in EWU’s art gallery. 

“Imagined Futures was a body of work that looked at the idea of what happens to the lives we leave behind as immigrants,” Soldi said. 

The art piece consists of thirty-six self-portraits taken in a photo booth. Soldi states the piece represents a way to grieve the life he left behind in Peru.

Entre Hermanos, another piece of work in Soldi’s Mother Tongue, is linked to Imagined Futures. It consists of photographs of queer Latino men in a photo booth after meditating about their lives before and after immigrating, Soldi said. 

The final piece in Soldi’s exhibition is CARGAMONTÓN. This piece represents “the relationship between violence and intimacy in the process of building a masculine identity amongst young, Peruvian Latin American boys,” Soldi said. 

EWU’s Visiting Artist Lecture series is held as a way to help artists speak about their work. It also assists “art students to be able to step inside an artist’s head. To see the thoughts behind their art,” Hobson said. 

Soldi is also a co-founder of the Strange Fire Collective which is a group of artists dedicated to engaging with current social and political topics, mostly emphasizing works made by women, people of color, and queer and trans artists. He is also a co-founder and curator of the High Wall, a project documenting immigrant artists at the Inscape Arts Building in Seattle, Washington. More information about Soldi’s works can be found here.

Soldi has been an artist for nearly 20 years. “I do feel very, very lucky and very privileged to be an artist and I never take that for granted.”

Mother Tongue will be in the Eastern Washington University Gallery of Art from Jan. 26th to March 3rd, 2023. 

“Everybody is an artist. Everybody can do art. Just living your life you’re engaged with creativity,” Hobson said.