Francis Almendárez is an interdisciplinary artist who traverses the intersections of history, ethnography and the arts, using them as tools to address memory and trauma, specifically of migrant and queer bodies of Central American and Caribbean diasporas, in attempt to make sense of and re-construct identity. Being the product of a family of intergenerational migrants and having to frequently re-locate due to financial instability, he attempts to transform spatiotemporal dislocation and intersectionality into agency, resistance and autonomy by vocalizing and embodying the experiences of the marginalized, disenfranchised, or liminal Other. His work, ranging from video installation to performance and text, incorporates music and storytelling, and brings to the foreground time, labor and rhythm. Combining personal narratives with those of his grandmother, Almendárez uses the biographical to collapse and juxtapose past, present and future, subtly touching upon underlying, overlapping and recurring themes from postcolonialism to migrant labor to gender roles and motherhood. Working from the vantage point of both insider and outsider, he observes, he listens, and he collects. Then, he transforms the material from the personal to the political – and finally – to the poetic, in the effort to re-present and re-historicize alterity, and provide an alternative to the dominant Western narrative.
Francis Almendárez was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and is currently living and working in Houston, TX. He has participated in exhibitions and screenings in the USA and abroad including the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts; Artpace, San Antonio; Houston Center for Photography; Pi Artworks, London; CCI Fabrika, Moscow; GALERIE DIX9, Paris; and Westwerk, Hamburg. He is the recipient of a 2018 Houston Artadia Award and the 2018 Carol Crow Memorial Fellowship, as well as a participant of the 2019 Artpace International Artist-in-Residence program, and the 2015 ICA Moscow Summer School. Writing on his work has been featured in publications including D Magazine, spot Magazine, Artforum, ARTNEWS, and Glasstire among others. He has been a Visiting Artist at the University of Houston and teaches photography and art at Houston Community College, Houston Center for Photography and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Almendárez received an MFA in Fine Art (with Distinction) from Goldsmiths, University of London and a BFA in Sculpture/New Genres from Otis College of Art and Design.