Art Department alum and Irwin Scholar Jairo Banuelos creates sculptures and performances which investigate how race and class identities prevent people from accessing certain privileges such as education, housing, and more. He writes, "My work is informed by my personal experiences of being discriminated against due to my ethnicity and my observations of others who receive similar or worse treatment in our society. I have a difficult time exploring my cultural identity and this has become the core of my work. I explore how racism has limited me and others."
"My work is often inspired by the ways people's actions, ideas, and experiences can affect others. The materials I use range from wood, metal, to found and natural materials such as paper, cement, rocks, cardboard, plastic containers, and dirt. I use these found materials to create objects that appear worn, destroyed or used to represent how marginalized people are perceived as unusual or unwelcome. I create sculpture to show the daily struggle people of color often face due to the descriptions and representations of race, ethnicity, and legal status."