Performance artist/writer Guillermo Gómez-Peña resides in San Francisco where is he artistic director of La Pocha Nostra, a "trans-disciplinary arts organisation (which) provides a base for a loose network and forum of rebel artists from various deicplines, generations and ethnic backgrounds". Born in 1955 and raised in Mexico City, he came to the US in 1978 to study in California. He is a regular contributor to National Public Radio, a writer for newspapers and magazines in the US, Mexico and Europe and a contributing editor to The Drama Review (NYU-MIT).
One of the most important and provocative performing artist/activists working today, Gómez-Peña was the first Latino to win the MacArthur 'genius' grant. He has won the US National Book Award and performs and exhibits regularly at Tate Modern, the Whitney, and major US academic institutions including Dartmouth and UCLA. This is his first visit to Ireland.
His artistic project is to interrogate the idea of the 'marginal' and 'exotic' by destabilising audience expectations as to what is mainstream and what is alternative. His work is intercultural in that he brings Latin-American and Native American perspectives, references, and styles into his work. In both his person (a Mexican immigrant to the US) and his work, he directly challenges narrow definitions of national identity, an area that is hugely topical both in the US and Ireland today.
His work consistently addresses the social and cultural effects of globalisation, and patterns of ethnic and community affiliation beyond the national.