Casita Triste (Sad Little House) is a guerrilla outdoor project in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas, TX. Beginning Dec 24th, this project will feature multiple piñata-based works in the form of little houses placed in or around the neighborhoods of the Oak Cliff area. Casita Triste looks to create awareness, reflection, and empathy by provoking discussion around affordable housing issues and displacement.
Inspired by the brightly painted homes found in predominantly Latinx communities, Casita Triste aims at highlighting cultures that are integral to our community’s social fabric. Today, these vibrant neighborhoods are rapidly disappearing and being replaced by luxury condominiums and apartments which are often subsidized by city tax dollars. These new living spaces often attract more affluent “lifestyle renters” while displacing existing working class families. Combined with the lack of affordable housing, the Dallas City Council rejected efforts last year to strengthen housing voucher protections. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has also accused Dallas city officials of misusing federal funds, these ongoing issues only furthers the need to bring attention to a long ignored dilemma.
Casita Triste blurs the boundaries between craft, art object, advocacy, and sentimental offering. Each 20 x 28 x 20 inch piñata house takes on anthropomorphic elements, prompting the viewer to empathize with the fragility, history, and experiences of the community. In addition, each Casita Tristesculpture will give viewers an opportunity to advocate for fair housing by sending a Christmas postcard “All I want for Christmas is Affordable Housing” to City Hall.
A native of Dallas, Giovanni Valderas graduated from the College of Visual Arts & Design at the University of North Texas with a Master of Fine Arts in Drawing & Painting. His work has been featured in the 2013 Texas Biennial, New American Paintings Magazine, issue #108 and #132, Impossible Geometries: Curated works by Lauren Haynes at Field Projects in New York City, and a solo exhibit at Galveston Arts Center. Valderas recently received a micro-grant from the Nasher Sculpture Center and has been selected for the 14x48.org public art project this spring in New York City.