Photograph by Deb Leal

Jennifer Teresa Villanueva is a Mexican-American artist born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and currently based in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2020) and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin (2023). With a focus on vibrant color, intimate environmental portraits, and still lifes, Villanueva sheds light on the inner world of her immigrant family as they confront exploitative labor, generational trauma, and the pursuit of the American Dream. Her family’s life examines the sociological, historical, medical, political, and economic processes that have led through their migration and immigrant lived experiences.

Villanueva previously participated in the SOMA Summer program at SOMA in Mexico City, MX, and is an Elaine G. Weitzen Whitney ISP Studio Program Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program. She has been honored with awards and grants including the En Foco 2024 Photography Fellowship, Aperture 2023 Creator Labs Photo Fund, Elaine G. Weitzen ISP Fellowship, Rauschenberg Artist Fund, Chicago Artist Coalition's SPARK Grant, SAIC Office of Engagement: Race, Equity, and Inclusion Fellowship, Fred Endsley Memorial Fellowship, Bank of America Scholarship, and John W. Kurtich Travel Grant. Through her photographs, prints, research, and writing, Villanueva deftly explores the intricate complexities of her immigrant family's daily lives, their historical migration, labor dynamics, and the ever-evolving tapestry of their identities shaped by the relationship between the United States and Mexico.
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