Artist: Dalia Banuelos and Daniel Bonilla-Vera
Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
Instagram: Dalia: @daliaeffects
Website: Daniel – dbvphotography.com
About the Artists
Dalia Banuelos and Daniel Bonilla-Vera are both undergraduate students at California State University, Long Beach. They are both studio arts major who both got rejected from the BFA Photography program at Long Beach. Unlike Dalia, Daniel has another chance to apply to the program while Dalia can’t anymore after getting rejected write. Dalia transferred from Los Angeles Valley College while Daniel transferred from the College of the Sequoias in San Joaquin Valley. Dalia and Daniel are both seniors and are expecting to graduate this upcoming year. Dalia’s hobby is martial arts while Daniel likes to carve and do sculptures.
As I walked in the gallery, the first thing I noticed were black strings were attached from wall to wall. There were photographs attached to the string and some on the wall. The strings were connected to all the photographs and artwork they did. Some photographs were dangling from the strings and the ones on the wall were slowly coming off. In the corner of the gallery, there was a trashcan filled with their photographs. There were black curtains covering the entrance and it gave a mysterious look to their exhibition. There were mannequins on the floor – one in the middle and one in the corner of the gallery.
These photographs that were on the wall and dangling from the black strings represent their hard work and achievements that the BFA Photography program didn’t understand. These photographs were rejected from the program and they wanted to show them off because they are achievements. The photographs Dalia and Daniel have consisted of their time and effort and they meant more than a rejection. The mannequins on the floor represent them. These mannequins portray their devastating reaction when they both got rejected. They were discouraged, especially for Dalia for getting rejected twice, but they wanted to make a statement with this exhibition.
With their experience of getting rejected, I understand how that feels. I empathize with them because I know how it feels to work hard for something, to put all your time and effort to only get rejected. This can be very discouraging; however, they still are trying to put their artwork out there for everyone to see. I applaud them for not taking the opinions of others about how their artworks weren’t “worthy” to be a part of the BFA program, but instead, they are finding ways to show that their art is worthy and is enough for the program. This exhibition is their first step to success and I wish them best of luck with their goal.