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ACC Instructor Earns Art Fellowship

When it comes to crafting his art, ACC instructor Alex Ordonez said he likes to focus on something that isn’t always available to the viewer – perspective.

Ordonez work involves creating objects with native cultural symbols on a cube so that can only part of it can seen when viewed from certain angles but prevents a viewer from seeing all of it at the same time.

Ordonez is an Alvin Community College Art instructor and was recently awarded an Equity in the Arts Fellowship from the Talley Dunn Gallery in Dallas.

“That was something really incredible,” he said. “Most of the time I am working on my lessons, so I have a limited time to work on my art. Having the opportunity for somebody to recognize and notice the value of my art, that really impacts the way I feel about my art. The feedback is super positive. That makes me extremely excited.”

The year-long fellowship is an instructional and professional development program for emerging Black, Indigenous and other artists of color. The fellowship also provides mentorship and resources for the artists to pursue their work and learn about the inner workings of the art world.

“Much of his work is concerned with the ways Western social sciences flatten and otherize Indigenous cultures by employing culturally biased research methods,” the gallery states about Ordonez’s work.

The fellowship is an important opportunity for Ordonez, he said, because it recognizes emerging artists while giving them an opportunity to exhibit their work.

“The idea is helping to understand the mechanics of working in a gallery,” he said.

The fellowship will also provide guidance of presenting art work including the transportation of work, setting up exhibits and connecting with other galleries.

“We will also address the issue how to identify galleries who work together and the same style and concept of the artist,” Ordonez said.

Ordonez is a native of South America and began taking classes in English and Art at ACC in 2006.

“It has been a journey,” he said. “I have been working with clay all this time. My art at this point of my career is kind of conceptual but also involves a lot of connection with my ancestral tradition. The cultural issues and elements of the society are a strong part of my art and the images I impose”

His inspiration for his art stems from his background as a sociologist as well as elements of the culture of his native Ecuador. During his education as a sociologist, Ordonez said he noticed there was a prejudice and Eurocentric perspective into how other cultures are understood.

He infused his view into a series of work he calls Cultural Epistemology.

“I was trying to make a social commentary because when you’re around  anthropology you learn all of these different systems and ways to understand and make interpretation of different cultures,” Ordonez said. “There are a lot of elements that are outside the understanding of scientist because of the nature of how this science was created with a Eurocentric perspective. So I decided to create a metaphor of that in an image.”

In each of his works of ceramic cubes, he incorporates Native American designs, he said.

“Once people understand the logic of why those elements were created, they enjoy the history behind it,” Ordonez said. “The important message here is the fact that the signs are used in a way they were not intended originally. They have lost all the connection with the original meaning of the symbol. Now they are just put on a cube which we are trying to understand.”

To hear more about Ordonez and his artwork, you can listen to the ACC podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon, Spotify and Youtube.