Oscar Barahona

I began this portrait series in 2009 to show the meaning of identity for adolescents. The portraits were created after a series of interviews with the models on their own sense of identity. Though our hobbies and interests may change over time, where we come from grounds us and shapes who we are or strive to be. Every element in the paintings were carefully chosen to best capture the personality and essence of the model.

What I found in my interview with Oscar was his response to the question, "Where are you from?" My other models claimed a street name, or neighborhood, but Oscar and Vera both responded with the country they immigrated from rather than where they currently live. As the oldest in his family, Oscar has a tremendous amount of responsibility for his family. He is always looking ahead for a brighter future. Though his journey has been difficult he allows his country and american culture to merge in his life and create who he hopes to be.

 If someone asked you where you are from, what would you respond? Why would you respond with that answer? What does that say about where you consider your roots or just what you naturally feel more connected to? What do we consider our home?