Roberto Rafael Navarrete is an interdisciplinary artist working across photography, installation, sculpture, video and performance. He was born in Queens, New York, was raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Navarrete and his four siblings are first generation Peruvian-Americans and third generation hardwood floormen. Working with various species of wood his entire life and researching the knotted language of his Inca ancestors has had a significant influence on Navarrete's work throughout his career as this introduced his passion for knots.
“Shamanism, Peruvian Heritage, and Sexual Identity are primarily the driving forces in my artwork. I grew up always seeking out guidance and comfort from our shamans, curanderos, and our Saints. As a culture, we are encouraged to refrain from making any references towards our spiritual practice to protect us from harm. We are forced to stay quiet. As a queer, this became extremely difficult for me to accept given that it is the main inspiration for my life and practice as a creator. I feel an enormous responsibility to utilize my talent, voice, and experience through my artwork as I strive to express positivity while refusing to keep any part of my identity closeted. My research has enabled me to create a bridge into the physical, emotional, and spiritual scarring caused by global intolerance towards the LGBTQIA+ community and oppression embedded by patriarchal power. As an artist, I strive to create intimate, sacred environments that are constantly evolving and changing. These installations stand as a representation of the body in transition and transforming as we grow, scar and heal from our experiences. The resulting environments offer a visceral experience for the audience that aesthetically explores the body’s transformation as it heals. My work is an offering; representative of the scars I have collected and embraced. Remnants of these spaces take place within a reflective, transitional process at the intersection of the body and temporality that I occupy as a Queer, Latinx artist of color.”
He graduated from Georgia State University in 2011 where he received his Bachelors in Fine Arts with a focus in Drawing, Painting, and Printmaking. His work has been included in several national and international exhibitions. In 2015, Navarrete received The Graduate Teaching Assistantship at Florida Atlantic University and The Community Engagement Initiative Grant 2018. He lived in South Florida from 2015 to 2020 where he received his Masters in Fine Arts (2018) at Florida Atlantic University with a focus in Painting, Photography and Mixed Media Installations. Navarrete currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia.