By Hamza Yaqoobi, Office for Equity and Diversity

Julio Salgado, a visual artist who describes himself as an artist who happens to be undocumented and queer, will be on campus as part of the 2017 Pride Week events on Wednesday, October 4, 2017. He will showcase his pop-up art show and lead a discussion and poster workshop titled “I am a Queer Artist of Color and I’m Still Alive.”

Though it was not until about four years ago that Salgado decided to declare himself an artist, he has been expressing himself through art since he was a child. During his first two semesters in college, he focused on the study of art but was soon discouraged when he felt that his identities were not reflected in the courses –  on top of being financially inaccessible. Salgado switched his major to journalism but was able to engage with art in his own way as an editorial cartoonist. This position and his studies in journalism politicized his art.

After graduating college with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, Salgado continued making political art.  His work is widely used today in activist spaces, especially those that advocate for immigrant and queer rights. His identities as a queer and undocumented person influence and inform his art. “For years I kept these two parts of my identity separate,” Salgado says. “It was much later that I realized how interconnected these are, and I started to be more intentional in my imagery.”

The 2017 Pride Week poster series is an adaptation of six different works by Salgado. Each of these pieces pays homage to different parts of his identity. The main goal, Salgado says, is for his work to highlight the complexities of his identities. While Salgado stresses that his art is only reflective of his own experiences, he hopes that these portrayals can help humanize the experiences of other queer, undocumented people.

Salgado considers himself very lucky to visit universities and give a full background to his art while he is still alive. “A lot of times for queer artists of color it is not until we’re dead that people try to understand what we meant by a drawing or piece of writing,” says Salgado.

During this more turbulent political climate, Salgado works to inspire queer and immigrant students to stand up for themselves and speak their truth in their own ways. He passionately states, “one thing I will not do no matter the outcome of DACA or rights removed from the LGBTQ community go back into the closet. I would like to one day stop having to explain my humanity.”

For more information on Julio Salgado’s Pop-up art show and workshop, and for the full Pride Week line up, go here.