Interview - Rachel Gonzales

Rachel Gonzales is a Filipina-American artist born in Massachusetts in 1986. Rachel grew up in a first-generation immigrant’s household with both her birth parents and her Greek and Italian godparents, who raised her while her parents were away for work. Raised in an unconventional household, at one time having lived with two other adopted children in her godparents’ household and later with her step family, she learned to accept and embrace all ethnicities and backgrounds. In 1991, Rachel, her sister, and her birth parents moved to Houston due to her stepmother. Drawn to Rice University’s radio station KTRU and the architecture building, Rachel applied for Rice University’s architecture program and was accepted in 2004. Upon graduation in 2010, Rachel has been working as a freelance architectural designer, while working as an artist in her freetime in her studio at the Sawyer Yards in Downtown Houston. She is passionate about her Filipino identity and being a part of larger communities of people such as in the Filipinx Artists of Houston and Lumikha. Rachel is deeply invested in topics surrounding the cosmos and cyclical existences, motherhood and womanhood. She also thinks about the boundaries of human experience and space, and the female gaze as a more intuitive way of seeing beyond the physical realm. In her solo exhibition “Portal of Healing” at Fondren Library at Rice University during spring 2021, Rachel weaved oral history narratives from the Houston Asian American Archive, along with gestural brushstrokes, formed a tunnel-like immersive painting to embody the shared experience of the community in the COVID-19 pandemic.

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