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Valentina Soto headshot

Valentina Soto (University of Pennsylvania) is a recipient of the 2020 Master of Fine Arts Fellowship in Painting & Sculpture.

Valentina Soto was born and raised in Santiago de Chile and came to the United States to complete her MFA. She is interested in how the histories of exploitation of natural resources, colonization and current sociopolitical conditions can be understood and conveyed through art. Her work largely critiques and illuminates the colonial history of Latin America and the Caribbean by drawing on the work of early ethnologists, naturalists, and archeologists who explored and documented life in the Americas during the Spanish conquest. In her work Frágil Sumario de la Historia Natural de las Indias (A Fragile Natural History of the Indies), Ms. Soto creates clay and plaster sculptures based on drawings from the book Summary of the Natural History of the Indies (1526). She then exposes the objects to dripping water, creating a system of disintegration where the iconographic colonial objects erode and collapse.