Blackbird Speaking

Inspiration comes in many forms and from the unlikeliest of places. For art Associate Professor Andrew Ortiz, the inspiration for his recent Semana de Cultura exhibit, Blackbird Speaking, sprang from a “conversation” with a murder of crows perched on telephone wires. “They complained loudly at me, so I, being strongly influenced by magical realism and the belief that they were speaking to me, answered back,” says the award-winning photographer. “The birds seemed to complain louder. I stopped and ‘spoke’ with them more, and they in turn answered me.” Though they didn’t understand each other, the conversation stayed with Ortiz for years. Over time, it came to mean something more symbolic. “I’m interested in the idea of visually conveying the frustration of struggling to communicate. In these images, the blackbirds represent me and are juxtaposed against symbols that metaphorically describe obstacles to communication.”

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