I have worked on site at various institutions and my work increasingly responds to a particular community. I engage with these communities on various levels through pedagogy, the sharing of resources, skills and, ultimately, social representation. This way of working was started when I participated in Immigrant Movement International, the community center started by the Cuban-born activist and performance artist, Tania Bruguera, in 2011. I volunteered and taught an English language class there, through a course titled “Feminist Art History” to a group of undocumented women. I was so impressed by these women and their stories of immigration that I later went on to paint many of them in the community center itself.

At Immigrant Movement International in 2012, I met Veronica and her family, who would become my first and longest running sitters, and close friends. Veronica and her husband, Gustavo emigrated to Mexico over two decades ago, settling in Queens, where they had their daughter, Marissa. I have painted over a dozen portraits of this family, watched and painted Marissa grow up from a round-faced adolescent to a teenager. This family joined me at the opening of the 2017 Whitney Biennial where their portraits were on display. At the Whitney, Veronica and I lead a group of immigrant youth through the museum to speak about her own work as a community leader, and to encourage immigrant youth to follow their dreams and ideals. I have remained in contact with this family to this day. I was happy to help Marissa with her college entrance essay and I am thrilled she was accepted to an Ivy League University.

Aliza Nisenbaum was born in 1977, in Mexico City, Mexico. She lives and works in New York, NY. Nisenbaum studied psychology at Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City, Mexico, from 1997-99, and earned a BFA in 2001 and an MFA in 2005 from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL. Recent solo exhibitions include AQUÍ SE PUEDE (HERE YOU CAN), Atrium Project, Kemper Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO (2021); ALIZA NISENBAUM, Tate Liverpool, United Kingdom (2020); FLORA, DRAWINGS BY ALIZA NISENBAUM, Anton Kern Gallery, NY (2020); among others. Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including REFLECTIONS ON PERCEPTION, Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH (2022); PICTURING MOTHERHOOD NOW, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (2021); 100 DRAWINGS FROM NOW, The Drawing Center, New York, NY (2020); NINE LIVES, Renaissance Society, Chicago, IL (2020); among others.