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Marisol Villanueva was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She received a BA in Visual Arts at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in Puerto Rico in 1992. Her interest in photography moved Villanueva to continue her education in the United States at the San Francisco Art Institute, where she participated in a study abroad program at the China National Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou, China. She later moved to New York City and completed her studies at the School of Visual Arts, where she received a BFA. Since the mid-1990’s, Marisol’s work has been dedicated to photographing indigenous people and their threatened ways of life and habitats. These photographic essays range from self-assigned projects to specific collaborations with the Smithsonian Institution.

Her first long-term documentary photography project, The New Old World: Antilles – Living Beyond the Myth, opened at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in 2002 and later became a traveling exhibition. The exhibition included lectures, panels and an extensive educational program, serving as a vehicle for participants to engage and learn about the cultures represented. Villanueva’s first three publications, The New Old World/El nuevo viejo mundo, Bread Made From Yuca and Cazabi: Gift of the Americas, came out of The New Old World’s archives.

In 2003, Marisol began to work with the Center for Sacred Studies in the organization of the first gathering of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers in Phoenicia, New York. In 2004, Villanueva became the still photographer of the Thirteen Grandmothers’ film For the Next Seven Generations and is currently their official photographer, photo archivist and the director of their new multimedia book project titled Grandmothers Wisdom: Reverence For All Creation.


Featured works for ALEF 2016


20" x 24"

Masked Love

20" x 24"

New Old World 3

20" x 24"

New Old World 2

16" x 20"

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