Louisa Balderas is an artist and an activist, an artivist, from Los Angeles. Her pursuit of art, economics, and sustainable studies is inspired by her family’s strive to achieve the American dream. Through photography and video installations, she presents her ongoing research on her identity within herself, family, culture, and society. She is a member of the Education for Sustainable Living Program, an organization that pushes a horizontal learning environment.
Remembering is a skill I’ve been trying to figure out. I’ve collected and gathered all the images and videos I could find to make sense of what was and what is. These past four years have gone so fast the only way to keep up is to look down at the ground, up to the sky, to look back where I came from and figure out which way to go. I started my journey as an anthropologist and became an artist, an activist, and an economist. I have become more politically and socially active in my community and mindful of what it means to be a steward of the land. I am continuously questioning my identities in the relationships I have with all aspects of society and piecing it together to make sense of anything and everything while finding ways to just be. It’s quite overwhelming; it may or may not be the reason my brain refuses to remember. I have a need to know what and why things are the way they are in order to find solutions to the many broken systems we’re a part of. Knowledge is control. Thus, remembering is the key and photographing is the way I process and present specific issues that I think are worth thinking about like questioning the placement of our bodies and the structure of our cities in relation to accessibility. As I continue to reflect and ground myself with found memories, I am reminded by the feelings I’ve experienced in the past and be able to be present and intentional with the decisions I make and continue to make.
Year 1, 2017–2018
Year 2, 2018–2019
Year 3, 2019–2020
Year 4, 2020–2021
The 2021 Irwin Scholars are Abby McPhillips, Caroline Alfonso, Cassidy Skillman, Chloe Calhoun, Connor Alexander, Kalen Meeks, Klytie Xu, Louisa Balderas, Lucinda Gold, Saul Villegas, Sydney Geisinger, and Zoe Forsyth.