Xaquín G.V.

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Galiza in the U.S.

In Galiza in the U.S., I sought to weave a tapestry of my Galician heritage with my experiences in the States through a series of quirky and unexpected geographic and cultural coincidences.

It is a personal cartography that charts the similarities between my homelands by birth and by adoption, each pairing revealing a fascinating narrative of synchronicity.

The left half revolves around the city of Vigo and its American “counterpart,” San Francisco. Both are bridged by their shared features: steep streets that challenge pedestrians, the ever-present cries of seagulls along their coasts, a nearby Marin county, their Castros, shipyards, iconic bridges that have come to symbolize their skylines, and prisons set on islands that hold tales of history and intrigue.

On the other side of the piece, I explored lesser-known, although equally odd couples. Even the simple matching of placenames between Ohio, the U.S. state, and O Hío, a small parish near Vigo, is a cosmic joke that caps a narrative of serendipitous connections that the artwork embodies.

To find the pairings, I created a custom version of chatGPT that would spit out coincidences based on iconic features, tourist attractions, weather, population, area, history, geography, festivities… Though most of the pairings were flimsy at best (A.I., sigh!), a few were tremendously revelatory.

The graphic style is anchored in the print infographics of the early 2000s —right before I left Galiza for the U.S. I was inspired by the works of my father, Xoán G., and some of my colleagues and friends with whom I share this exhibit. The red and black palette was an early, self-imposed, radical constraint: two almost identically sharp and vibrant colors for the two aspects of my identity.