Arlene Mejorado is a first-generation, transnational lens-based artist from Los Angeles, California working between analog and digital photography, video, and installations. Mejorado is interested in creative responses to limitations in the documentary practice, depicting truths that aren’t visibly represented or legible but are experienced viscerally. Her photography supplements an ongoing archive and invites conversations around photographs for nuanced understanding of complex themes. Mejorado’s art engages in repair work, countering erasure and mending fragments in familial and collective stories with criticality and consideration for intersectional experiences around gender, race, and social class. She is concerned with notions of legacy and the reconstruction of memory for diasporical communities. Her work also examines quotidian spectacles and euphoria within working class communities deemed as peripheral, culturally subversive spaces and collective gestures of catharsis, pleasure, and resistance.
Mejorado has been awarded the Magnum Foundation Photography and Social Justice fellowship and the National Association of Latino Arts and Scholarship mentorship grant and is an alumni of the NALAC Leadership Institute. Her documentary work has been published in Vogue, The Atlantic, California Sunday Magazine, The Intercept, Pop-Up Magazine, The Guardian, The Nation, LA Times, and the HereIn Journal. She has handled special archival projects with the Human Rights Documentation Initiative, The Latin American Benson Collection, and El Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen in San Salvador, El Salvador. Mejorado’s practice extends into independent book and zine-making including La Pulga zine, and the co-published book, Femme Frontera which was awarded the 2018 Lucie Foundation Independent Book Award. She is the founder and editor of Óptica, a photography magazine spotlighting femme and gender non-conforming Black, Indigenous, and people of color image makers. Mejorado has served as a photography educator and mentor at Las Fotos Project, The Lower Eastside Girls Club, and has contributed to Eyes Open, a workbook by Aperture Foundation. Selected publications and photo prints have been collected at Harvard University Library Special Collections, The Library of Congress, The Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, the Department of Arts and Culture in San Antonio, Gimnasio de Arte, and MexicArte Museum. Arlene Mejorado holds a B.A. in Latin American Studies from The University of Texas at Austin and is completing her M.F.A. in Visual Arts at The University of California in San Diego.