When Blanca Y. Davila D. was just three years old, her family moved from Mexico to the United States in pursuit of the American Dream. With field work being a part of her family’s daily life, her parents pushed her, and she pushed herself, to succeed in her educational pursuits.
“Blanca sees herself as a DACA student; as so, she has the fortitude to continue her higher education through the tribulations posed by our political system. As an artist, she is a very committed student in the development of her creativity and craft,” said Martin Valencia, Chair, Art and Design Department.
This political tension has been the subject of Davila’s recent work.
“Blanca’s inclination to the natural forms of ceramic sculpture are expressed in a time-honored tradition, but the conceptual basis of underlying content speaks legions beyond the functional aspects of the craft. In her impressive recent work, she pays homage to the struggle and identity of immigrants,” said Ed Gillum, Professor of Art.
“Blanca’s work, while formally sleek and at times relatively minimal in its visual language, depicts subject matter infused with personally significant meaning. Her current ongoing series is informed by the present-day political climate characterized by extreme polarization of opinions and uncompromising delivery of rhetoric often encountered not only in mass media but also through personal experiences,” said Una Mjurka, Professor of Art, Ceramics.
A graduate of Orosi High School, Davila received an associates degree in art from the College of the Sequoias in Visalia before transferring to Fresno State. Her art has been shown in many exhibitions at Fresno State and around the Central Valley as far north as Davis and has won several awards.
Among her numerous volunteer activities, Davila has served as the Fresno State Guild President for two years and is a regular volunteer in the ceramics studio. She has extensive experience planning, installing and participating in art exhibits.
“Her energy also extends to participating in community service and has been very active working with boy’s and girl’s clubs, youth basketball, and the girl’s AYSO soccer team. She has learned the rigors of a working and productive studio and has volunteered to mix glazes, fire kilns and provide help to other students,” said Gillum.
Davila plans to continue her education in graduate school at Fresno State.
Working in the fields leaves gifts of aching knees and back, cuts and bruises, days of never-ending pain. It terrifies you that this could be your whole life. Waking up before the sunrise to beat the heat, wishing for clouds to provide a shelter of shade. After many hours of work, arriving home you slowly leave a trail of dirt wherever you take a step. You stand in front of a mirror realizing you no longer recognize yourself.
At just seven years of age, I knew I never wanted to return and work in the fields, that lesson was learned. I understood exactly why I was brought to the United States, my parents leaving the comforting familiarity of our homeland to start a new life. I looked into my parents’ eyes, I could feel their pain, but also their determination. What better life, than to give us a chance to have the American Dream. Their ultimate goal was for us, their children was to be educated.
This notion became my reason to push harder and succeed in my studies. I graduated from both high school and community college with honors. In 2016, I transferred to Fresno State to continue my education. Initially, I wasn’t concerned about the content of my artwork. However, it was about to change.
I am just one of nearly seven hundred thousand individuals who are caught in the middle of the political chaos in the United States today. Prior to the 2016 presidential election, I wasn’t worried about my immigration status. Post-election I avoided discussing my new-found fears with others, I began to hide who I was. I am an illegal immigrant who is not supposed to be here, and in the eyes of many, I am a criminal.
Suppressing my fear, I began developing a body of work that represents not only me, but many others that do not have a voice. Through this action, I have empowered myself. As a DACA recipient, I have goals that are being threatened by the actions of those with political power. Within my current work, I have created sculptures to highlight the impact political tension has on me. During this process, I have learned more about myself and also solidified my future professional goals. I plan to continue my education in graduate school. Eventually, I would like to teach at an institution of higher learning. Education has no boundaries, it is a country without borders.