The Anacostia Community Museum will be closed from January 8, 2024-March 22, 2024. We will reopen on Saturday, March 23, 2024 with our next exhibition, A Bold and Beautiful Vision: A Century of Black Arts Education in Washington, DC,1900-2000. We hope you will join us! 

Realidad Norteña

Object Details

Cornelio Campos
acrylic on canvas
36 5/16 × 60 1/4 × 2 7/8 in. (92.3 × 153 × 7.3 cm)
Cite As
Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
On a precisely divided canvas, painter Cornelio Campos (1971-) contrasts landscapes, symbols, and life experiences of his home country, Mexico, with those of the United States, to which he immigrated as a teen. In a series of split icons, for example, the Virgin of Guadalupe on the Mexican side mirrors the Statue of Liberty on the US side of the flag-like painting. The open wings of a monarch butterfly, known for its migration from Mexico to the US, become a bridge over the barbed-wire border, however. Campos found painting Realidad Norteña, or Reality of the North, healing after his own difficult journey from an indigenous Tarascos community in Michoacán to Los Angeles and, eventually, to North Carolina. The self-taught artist examines how immigrants imagine the US, the severe circumstances that people leave behind, and what they endure during and after their arrival. Along with Campos’s work boots (2017.17.1a-b) and bus ticket (2017.17.2a-b) from his migration north, the acrylic painting was on display in the Anacostia Community Museum’s exhibition, Gateways/Portales, from December 2016 to January 2018.
Accession Number
See more items in
Anacostia Community Museum Collection
Data Source
Anacostia Community Museum
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Record ID
Back to Top