Transcending Culture Through Art

Depicting the immigrant experience through his enchanting magical realism paintings and multimedia portraiture, Pablo Ayala expresses his intersectional identities through his artwork. His Mexican/American heritage, status as an undocumented immigrant, and double majors in art and biomedical engineering all contribute to his unique perspective.

Ayala’s latest series personifies the Latin American cultural identity while allowing him to explore and expand on the internal conflict of being an immigrant in the landscape of Utah. “I hope to add to the discussion of sharing challenges concerning coming to terms with intersectional cultural identities as an immigrant with a yearning for a lost connection to heritage in a Western-centric country,” Ayala said of the collection. In addition to this series, Ayala is an active member of the Artes de Mexico en Utah organization and serves on the Board for Cultural Transformation at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Ayala has art on display at the Finch Lane Gallery and has had a residency at the Leonardo Museum.

Exploring the connection between art and science is one of Ayala’s research goals. Ayala set up an exhibition revolving around art that captures the immigrant experience at the Finch Lane Gallery. To measure the impact of the art, he connected heart rate monitors to attendees and found that people with undocumented immigrant backgrounds responded strongly to the imagery depicted in the exhibit and had an improved response to stress after viewing the art on display.

Moving forward, Ayala plans to continue his research on art as a means of therapy. He is currently applying to medical schools across the country with a goal of earning an M.D. Ph.D. Ayala strives to continue amplifying immigrant voices as he looks toward his continued education and career.

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About the Author:

Avatar photo Gracie is a senior at the University of Utah. She is majoring in Marketing and minoring in Psychology. Gracie is from Heber, Utah and enjoys hiking, skiing, and travelling. Instagram: @gracie.maren and

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