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Arts & Life

Platform Americas: Filmmaker Denise Soler Cox; Artist Dmitri Obergfell

Andrea Flanagan
“Being Ñ” filmmakers Denise Soler Cox and Henry Ansbacher";s:3

Episode 2 of Platform Americas is all about the immigrant experience and identity. Filmmaker Denise Soler Cox talks about the unique identity of the “ñ,” American-born children of at least one parent from a Spanish-speaking country. Then we visit Dmitri Obergfell, a multimedia artist exploring his roots -- and his tenuous relationship with his estranged Mexican father -- through a unique, layered exhibition at the Denver Art Museum.

Credit Andrea Flanagan
Denver’s Denise Soler Cox: Her story of “never being Latina enough, and never being American enough, is the subject of the documentary, “Being Ñ.”

Part One: Denise Soler Cox

Filmmaker Denise Soler Cox is spearheading a movement to help 16 million Latin Americans come to terms with their mixed identities. She talks with Platform Americas co-host Ray Rinaldi about her film, Being Ñ.

Interview Highlights

On being a child of two cultures: "I never felt Puerto Rican enough for my Puerto Rican family and friends, and never felt American enough for the mainstream culture that I grew up in. And that night, I realized, wow, we’re actually all the same." 

On growing up Latina in a white, suburban school: "They called me, 'Spic.' They had no idea I no longer cared. I used to think, ‘I wish they’d call me something that would actually hurt, like "liar."'"

On being Latino in the age of Trump: "I was kicked out of an Uber two days before the election … because the driver didn’t like the subject of my film."

On the identity crisis of Latina teenagers: "Compared to black and white teens, Latina teenagers have the highest attempted suicide rates...This has become personal to me. This is my mission."

Additional Resources

Credit Dmitri Obergfell / Denver Art Museum
Denver Art Museum
Dmitri Obergfell, Federal Fashion Mart, 2016.

Part Two: Dmitri Obergfell

Multimedia artist Dmitri Obergfell explores his mixed identity through an edgy art exhibit that mimics life in a local Latino neighborhood. 

Credit Denver Art Museum
Dmitri Obergfell at the Denver Art Museum

Interview Highlights

On a t-shirt with an image of a coyote, a clue to understanding “Federal Fashion Mart,” his installation: "My father was brought to the United States illegally by a coyote. And then on the back of the shirt there's a map of Mexico and the western United States. There's a little dotted line in the style of cartoon character coyote….This is the key to the exhibition, that really unlocks the whole the thing."

On his American mother: "My mother met my father on a horse racing track; my mother trained race horses. So I spent a good portion of my early childhood, up until I was 16, on horse racing tracks getting exposed to immigrant culture as well as horse racing culture, which is a whole thing in and of itself."

Additional Resources