Another month, another winning choice of featured artist by Provenance Gallery. Visual artist, San Anto transplant, recent UTSA MFA grad and self-described military brat Allison Valdivia often finds herself “looking to the past, looking to [her] family and culture to find a sense of who [she is].” Her new exhibit, coyly (maybe subversively?) titled “Family Happiness,” takes on her own family’s past as a source of hidden stories, forgotten or unshared memories and, ultimately, as a therapeutic journey to reconnect to her own roots. In her artist’s statement, Valdivia explains: “By viewing old family photos as artifacts, I have been creating my own stories, projecting hidden philosophies based off of personal experience, from what I see in the object before me and the lack of family history shared with me.” She explores the ideal of the happy family, often depicted on the surface of the family photos she encounters, versus the actuality of dysfunction, guilt and suffering that are part of the family experience for so many people. Often at odds with or isolated from her culture as a Latina — the result of moving around so much and of being an artistically passionate person — Valdivia also uses her ruminations on the particulars of family life to deepen her connections to her cultural identity.