Daniela Chávez

Daniela Chávez

[BA] Art History and Criticism

[BFA] Photography

[Minor] Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs

In Deferred American Dream, I explore my parents’ hopes and realities in pursuing an American Dream that began in the 1990s and remains unfulfilled to this day. Using family photographs, personal objects, and constructed or manipulated materials, I reference what feels like the never-ending pursuit of a near future that escapes the current reality of dangerous labor or threats of violence.  

Over the years of traveling to Mexico to visit my parents, I have realized the complexity of being divided between two countries––both for myself and them. As a child, my dad’s phrase was, “When we all move back to Mexico…” in high school it was “When you come visit us this Christmas…” and now it is “When we are finally able to move back to the U.S. with you…” Who moves and where to change in each phrase––what stays consistent is their future tense 

The performance of building a home is central to my parents’ American Dream. When they lived in the U.S., their aspiration for a better future here was limited because of their immigration status. They ceaselessly worked in meat-packing plants in Nebraska to build their ideal home in Guerrero, Mexico. For my family, as for many immigrant families, the concept of home and the feelings brought by having a home are constantly changing. Home is unfulfilled both in the U.S. and in our home country.


Daniela Chávez is from Grand Island, Nebraska and will graduate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Photography in May 2022. Her work has been included in various exhibitions including Togethering at the Houston Center for Photography (2020) and the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art’s 2020 Undergraduate Exhibition. Chávez has interned at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, and currently works as a Collection Research Intern at the Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln.