‘I Had Wished I Was White’ recounts Louie Villanueva’s passage between cultures—one of family and one of peers—using photographs of his parents, food, and settler colonial lifestyles in Canada made over a decade. Images detail specific moments in Villanueva’s journey, expressing a universal struggle with identity. Photography provided a third way to tackle growing up, and this selection reveals this unconscious thread throughout life. ‘I Had Wished I Was White’ is a clear title with personal imagery that gives language to a seldom expressed but commonly experienced tension.
Louie Villanueva (b. 1995) is a photographer based in Moh’kins’tsis, located on Treaty 7 territory—also called Calgary, Canada. Born to parents of Filipino descent—Villanueva explores identity, poetry and prose, and the dialectic of art and craft. A fascination with mindfulness—intermingles with philosophies of art and manifests in a way of seeing in everyday activities, formal portraiture, and walking. A background in photojournalism, event and studio photography provide a base for Villanueva’s examination of form and subject and give him generous mechanisms to communicate with. Villanueva is the photography technician for the University of Calgary Department of Art and Art History.
In Conversation: Lily Pavle and Louie Villanueva
Lily Pavle and Louie Villanueva tackle the problems of identity in their practice. They have meshed remnants of conceptual projects: human hair—and old work prints. Together, they communicate the struggle of remembering one’s history while also trying to move on.