Christhian Diaz Silva

Professor of the Practice of Painting and Foundations


MFA, Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, 2018

BFA, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, NY, 2010


Christhian C. Diaz Silva is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and immigration legal advocate. His work deconstructs, rearranges, and exposes the absurdities of the immigrant experience and the psychological impacts of the US immigration system. What happens when a person’s sense of self erodes as their identity becomes iterated and reinforced through bureaucratic legal processes? What happens when a person spends years retelling their story and the horrors they’ve suffered before judges, lawyers, and social workers? Using migration stories as material for performances, paintings, and photographs, Christhian unpacks the precarious conditions of being labeled immigrant, undocumented, illegal, and other by dominant systems of power.

Christian’s practice is informed by his personal and professional background, having emigrated to Florida with his mom at age twelve, and from his experience as an immigration paralegal. From 2016–2022, Christhian served as Board President of UnLocal, a non-profit organization that provides free legal representation and community education to undocumented immigrants in New York City who are at risk of deportation. In collaboration with artists, curators, and gallerists, Christhian organized an annual art auction that raises funds for and brings wider attention to UnLocal’s work.

Christhian holds an MFA from Rutgers University and a BFA from The Cooper Union. Christhian has performed at the Whitney Biennial, MoMA PS1 Printshop, the Museum of Arts and Design, Movement Research at Judson Church, The Center for Performance Research, The Wild Project, and The Clemente, among others. He was a 2019 SOMA Summer Residency fellow, a 2018 fellow of The Art & Law Program, and a 2013 MacDowell fellow. From 2011–15, Christhian was a lead organizer of Trade School, an international collaborative-run barter for education platform where people taught classes in exchange for goods.

Green Card Party (Cheers), 2023, Oil on paper, 22″ x 30″

Instrucciones para lamentar / Instructions for Lamentation, 2020, Performance, 25 min
Performed at The Wild Project, New York, NY
In collaboration with Gabrielle D’Angelo, and with performers Sammy Calacas and Catalina Tuca.