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“For those without roots in a place, memory is essential to maintain a sense of continuity in life”. Isabel Allende

Historias fragmentadas (Fragmented Stories) is a visual journal that I created over the course of five years. It was fueled by a sentiment of longing and nostalgia after the death of my grandmother, the family story keeper in 2015. This event brought me to look deeper into my past; to explore the paradox of memory and the emotion of loss as a way to reconnect with my Peruvian roots and honor those who came before me.

In this series, I create digital photo collages that unsettle the images of the past in a way that allows me to look through the cracks. By tearing, juxtaposing and layering archival family photographs, fragments from my journals, and objects from my childhood, I have shed light on a personal story within an ancestral story that spans generations. I also use staged imagery, mostly self-portraits, to explore moments in my life where I have inhabited liminal spaces, moments of transition and experiences of displacement, both physical and psychological.

This work tells the story of a particular middle-class Peruvian family through my own lens. I have chosen, with these images and writings, to release the voices and the haunting self-discovery that happened when I explored the stories behind iconic family photographs and their legends through my own personal mythology.

"A sort of artistic enchantress, Claudia Ruiz Gustafson recounts her journey from Peru to the U.S. through 31 evocative photos and 11 texts that she calls her Historias Fragmentadas. Reminiscent of the magical realism of Latin American authors, the Framingham-based artist casts a supernatural aura on her stories illustrated by vintage photos of her homeland... Boldly ambitious, Ruiz Gustafson infuses her own story with signs and symbols that link her past and present to create a personal mythology that opens her inner life to viewers – if they dare look." Chris Bergeron, Metrowest Daily News

"Her collage-style creations mix old and new photographs with recipes, letters, yarn, appliques and other mementos to create beautiful, multi-dimensional works. Like our memories, only snippets of moments and people are retained, and every person who encounters them may see them differently." Celina Colby, The Bay State Banner
Llena eres de gracia (Full of Grace)La casa embrujada (The Haunted House)Juegos de imitación (Pretend Games)Mi abuelo y yo (My Grandfather and I)Arroz con leche (Rice with Milk)La niña buena (The Good Girl)El castillo de mi madre (My Mother's Castle)La Cenicienta (Cinderella)Educando a Dina (Educating Dina)Los que se fueron (Those who Left)Lazos de sangre (Blood Ties)Los de arriba y los de abajo (Those Above and Those Below)Esos fueron los años (Those were the years)El día que hablé con el mar (The day I spoke to the sea)Bajo el mismo sol (Under the Same Sun)