Orlando Lara


As an artist, writer, and educator, I have focused especially on the melding of art, storytelling, ethnography, and community organizing. Currently, I am a graduate student in Anthropology at UC Irvine working on a critical ethnography of vulnerability and belonging in the US. I am an active member of the Sin Huellas Artist/Activist Collective, which created the multi-media exhibit, "Detention Nation." The work has been shown in Houston, Denver, Topeka, and Lubbock. While a MAS Faculty at Lee College, I worked with students to create "Know Your History, Know Yourself," a large student-led mural inside of the Baytown Public Library. I continue to participate in state-wide efforts to establish Ethnic Studies in Texas from K-14.

Additional Information

Artist Statement I believe in the importance of blurring genres, especially any artificial lines between art and activism, fact and creativity, and art and scholarship. I believe that art can emerge from and take part in social movements. I also believe that activists can be artists. I do not believe that art must always be based on the individual reflections of an enlightened artist, but can also draw from deep participation and heightened awareness of the world around us, including the so-called "facts," especially in the age of post-truth and white identity politics. However, I do believe that art and scholarship can dig deeply into the burning questions that we all carry within us, that our own lives and family histories are rich with knowledge and that they do carry whole colliding universes and universalities inside of them. If you are interested in immigrant rights, social justice, and want to make some art or invite me to a reading, let me know at olara@orlandolara.com. I am currently in California but am happy to come to Texas.

Birthplace The Barrio Streets of Your Mind

Intro to Detention Nation

"Know Your History, Know
"Arpa Viajera" by Orlando
"Elizabeth's Story" by Or


Irvine, California 92617