Born in San Luis Río Colorado, Mexico and raised on the Mexican/US border in southern Arizona, Claudio Dicochea works at the intersection of colonialism, art history and contemporary popular culture. Using the model of the 18th century genre of Casta paintings, he examines the concept of mestizaje – or mixed race identity – as well as challenging the ways today’s media and culture stereotypes individuals of color.
Casta paintings recorded the racial mixing taking place in Colonial Mexico by depicting a progression of family units from lightest-skinned to the darkest-skinned – an organization that solidified ideological assumptions about race, gender and class. In his work, Dicochea creates new families in which figures from comics, science fiction, world history, cinema and popular culture mix in an emancipatory fusion of new possibilities. Dicochea has explained: “At the core level, I’m showing that the ideas of race and ethnicity are social processes that are made up rather than natural phenomenon, that they are constructed to exert control.”
Dicochea holds an MFA in painting from Arizona State University, a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Studio Art from San Francisco Art Institute and a BFA from the University of Arizona. His work has been shown at the Denver Art Museum, UCR ARTSblock, Snite Museum of Art (Notre Dame University), El Paso Museum of Art, Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juarez, McNay Art Museum, National Museum of Mexican Art (Chicago), BYU Museum of Art (Provo), Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, ASU Art Museum and was included in the 17th Biennale of Sydney.