Rachel Suárez is an emerging artist from Melbourne and is currently completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts at RMIT. She is a first generation Australian with her family originating from El Salvador in Central America. Rachel has exhibited in galleries across Victoria and New South Wales such as Neospace, The Artists Guild and National Art School with many works in private collections. In 2016, Suárez was awarded a study tour scholarship to Hong Kong through RMIT Global Experiences and the following year, was selected as a finalist for the Graeme Hilbebrand Foundation Art Prize. Rachel has recently completed an internship at Blak Dot Gallery and works as an educator and mentor at Little Creatures Collective.
Within her artistic practise, Rachel investigates Latinidad, through symbolism/iconography and self portraiture. She is inspired by kitsch aesthetics and how it is represented in the Catholic religion of Central America and throughout the diaspora. Rachel utilises the concept of artificiality and authenticity through the use of artificial plants and gold. She uses them firstly, as an homage to the religious festivals and ‘Cholo’ culture, and secondly, as a reference to the feelings of inauthenticity to her own cultural identity. As her parents migrated to Australia before she was born, Rachel often finds herself falling between the cracks of belonging to either cultures.
In an attempt to answer those questions of identity and belonging, Suárez undertakes a performative approach to self portraiture, exploring and roleplaying all the versions of Latinas she sees around her in her communities and in the media. Rachel does not see the photographs as self portraits but narratives of the characters that are embodied in that moment.
Another method that family and historical narrative is employed in Rachel’s practise is through video and spoken word. Rachel aims to recall memories passed down from one family member to the next and continues the oral practise of storytelling by creating surreal, augmented and distorted video montages and animations.