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Hector Rene Membreno-Canales

Hector Rene Membreno-Canales, Horn of Africa, c. 2013
From the series Hegemony or Survival
Courtesy of the artist.

Hegemony or Survival

In Hegemony or Survival, Hector Rene Membreno-Canales has juxtaposed contemporary military iconography, such as images of a machine gun, ammunition, or gas mask, with motifs and scenes often found in classical paintings and sculptures.

Within the context of art history, patrons including Dutch statesmen, royal courtiers, and the Vatican have commissioned great artists such as Michelangelo, Jacques-Louis David, and Adriaen van Utrecht to create depictions of their authority and often their affluence as a narrative recording of power.

Hector Rene Membreno-Canales, a Honduran-born immigrant journalist and photographic artist who enlisted in the U.S. Army, developed an interest in art and politics after serving in Iraq in 2009. Shortly after returning from his last deployment, he enrolled at the School of Visual Arts, New York City, under the G.I. Bill.

Recognizing that his identities as an immigrant, soldier, and artist are significantly different in terms of authority, he has been inspired to create work emphasizing the representation of power, the scale of war, and the burden of history.

Excerpted from artist statements by Hector Rene Membreno-Canales


Hector Rene Membreno-Canales was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, then immigrated to the United States. After serving in the recent Iraq war, he used the G.I. Bill to move to New York City and study photography at the School of Visual Arts (SVA). While at SVA, he interned at The Museum of Modern Art, the Magnum Foundation, Hank Willis Thomas’ studio, and Stephen Mallon Films.

He has been invited to study public affairs and journalism at the Pentagon’s Defense Information School, Fort Meade, Maryland. His work has been featured in The New York Times, L’Oeil de la Photographie, and The Ottowa Citizen. His work explores national identity, patriotism, and the military industrial complex.

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