Liliana Zavaleta is a visual artist who was born in Lima, Perú. She grew up in the United States and has lived and studied in Europe, the Near East, and South America. Zavaleta obtained her university degrees in French and Latin American Literature. She also studied at Parsons School of Design and was an award-winning art director before dedicating herself to her art work. Today she works full-time on her two- and three-dimensional visual work, dividing her time between Upstate New York and South America.
Just before arriving in New York as a graduate student, I was consumed by Harry Potter novels, which describe a boy seizing his chance at a life in an alternate universe with its own realities and its own customs and history. What is valued in the old world is not necessarily appreciated in the new world, and vice versa. Novels such as The Hobbit, His Dark Materials, Chronicles of Narnia, and Coraline, in which characters travel to imaginary worlds where time and reality flow differently, resonate with me, perhaps because moving to another country involves bold changes in every aspect of life—geography, climate, architecture, customs, language, and even time.
When I was a little kid, I thought my uncle was hysterical. He told no jokes, but he didn’t treat me like a kid, either. He was always a problem for the rest of the family. At one point, my mother told me, “If people in suits come looking for your uncle, you don’t know where he lives.” Actually, he lived down the block. My uncle always had a job but never seemed to be working.