The exhibition will be on view at the Museum with the annual Student Exhibition; Campos will lead art workshops with students and community groups at the Museum, and give a public talk on Friday, March 17, 6pm


Jose Campos with figures from Chisme, Studio Lenca & WeCount! Photo: Fountainhead Arts.


WATER MILL, NY 2/16/2023—The Parrish Art Museum announces a recent gift from Mario Cader-Frech of Chisme: an installation of 15 woodcut figures of Latin migrant workers by Salvadoran artist Jose Campos, aka Studio Lenca, on view from March 12 – April 16, 2023. Cader-Frech founded Y.ES Contemporary, whose mission is to create opportunities for outstanding Salvadoran contemporary artists to advance their artistic practice and engage with artists, curators, collectors, gallerists, and the media within and outside El Salvador. Cader-Frech offered the works to the Museum with the goal of augmenting the roster of Latin-American artists in the Parrish permanent collection.


“We are thrilled to receive this important gift Mario Cader-Frech and honored to have Studio Lenca a part of the Museum’s collection,” said Executive Director Monica Ramirez-Montagut. “This marks the very beginning of partnering with Y.ES Contemporary in an effort to showcase more artists from Central America, and El Salvador in particular, at the Parrish. The population of the Suffolk County is more than 20% Hispanic/Latin, and the Museum is committed to having all communities represented in our collection and our programs.”



One side of the life-size cutouts in Chisme (“Gossip”) features Campos’ depictions of the migrant workers, now reimagined as monumental, joyful figures dressed in canary yellow, tangerine, or neon pink and sporting extravagant hats. Rather than toiling in obscurity, they purposefully take up space, standing with dignity and meeting the viewer eye-to-eye. Campos then completed the project in partnership with WeCount!, a membership-led organization of low-wage immigrant workers in South Florida who were invited to draw plants, trees, and seeds on the back of the figures, thereby bringing their lives and stories to light.

With this approach, Campos upends traditional roles by bringing typically ignored, overlooked individuals to the forefront: The figures in Chismerepresent the antithesis of those resigned to live hidden from view due to forced assimilation or concern for personal safety.

Studio Lenca & WeCount!, Chisme, installation view, 2022. Oil, acrylic, and graphite on board, Variable dimensions., 2022.  


On Friday, March 17, 6pm, the Museum is hosting the artist in a public program where he will discuss Chisme and share his experiences as an immigrant and artist. From March 15–19, Campos will join Parrish educators in leading a series of workshops for students from local middle and high schools, and families from community organizations including Project MOST and Whalebone Village.


Jose Campos (aka Studio Lenca)

Jose Campos spent his early years in a corrugated metal shelter in Santiago Nonualco, El Salvador. Displaced as a consequence of El Salvador’s violent civil war, he is unsure of his official date of birth and family history. Among the first waves of child migrants moving to the U.S., Campos travelled illegally overland with his mother in hopes of joining his father and ultimately living as ‘illegal aliens,’ working as domestics and laborers with no fixed address.

His preferred artist name, Studio Lenca, refers first to the studio as a space for experimentation and laboratory for practice. Lenca refers to of an indigenous people from El Salvador and central Honduras. In his work, Campos uses his work to address his own sense of belonging and defy the narrative surrounding his Latin community, manipulating and recalibrating visibly Latin cues to create a joyful world for an imagined flourishing existence. Collaged sorpresa wrappers, colones, cargo sacks, and indigo paste are used as triggers for collective re-imagining.


Jose Campos, aka Studio Lenca. Photo: Marc Hibbert 


Campos has studied Art and Design and has an MA in Arts & Learning from Goldsmiths University of London; and an MA in Contemporary Dance from Contemporary Dance School.


Selected Solo Exhibitions: A Losing Game, Soho Revue, London (2022); The Journey Becomes You, Artual Gallery, Beirut (2022); I’m working on leaving, Tang Contemporary, Seoul (2022); When Home Won’t Let You Stay, Berlin Art Weekend, Berlin (2022); The Dreamers, Foundry, Dubai (2022); The Invisibles, Sierra Metro, Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh (2022) 


Y.ES Contemporary

Y.ES Contemporary is an art program supporting artists from MesoAmerica

and is an initiative of The Robert S. Wennett and Mario Cader-Frech Foundation


Inspired by the natural setting and artistic life of Long Island’s East End, the Parrish Art Museum illuminates the creative process and how art and artists transform our experiences and understanding of the world and how we live in it. The Museum fosters connections among individuals, art, and artists through care and interpretation of the collection, presentation of exhibitions, publications, educational initiatives, programs, and artists-in residence. The Parrish is a center for cultural engagement, an inspiration and destination for the region, the nation, and the world.




AAQ / Resource: Ben Krupinski Builder