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10 Questions with Hector Membreño-Canales


Membreño-Canales features his photography on his Instagram @iamhectorrene.

Hector Membreno-Canales, Instructor in Art, is from San Pedro Sula, Honduras. In addition to working in the Art Department, he coaches Junior Varsity Football and Wrestling. He is also the faculty advisor for several clubs on campus, including Brotherhood, an affinity group for Black and Brown male-identifying students.

1. What did you do before coming to Andover?

I taught in New York City. I also worked as a photojournalist in New York and in the army. 

2. What inspires you to be an artist? 

Storytelling––telling stories of people whose stories may not always be out in the open. 

3. What is your art about? 

Like I said, a lot of it has to do with storytelling and sometimes that story is happening in the world. So, I show up like a journalist and take pictures of what I see. Sometimes, storytelling means that I’m working in a studio and constructing my ideas from my own imagination. In photography, you can go both ways. You can go out in the world and report it, or you can make a world in your artist or photography studio. 

4. What is your favorite part of teaching art at Andover?

Learning from students. You know, students here are quite bright and sharp, and they ask questions that I would never have asked from my own perspective, so I learn from them. Also community. There is a lot of community at Andover, and I feel like I can feel authentic. That feels good. 

5. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

When we’re not in a global pandemic, I really do like to travel. I like culture a lot. What I mean by culture is that I like to go to concerts, see comedy, theatre, plays, music, movies. I like entertainment. 

6. What is your favorite book?

I’m not totally sure I can pick a favorite book––it’s like saying who’s your favorite child. But, I’ll say right now, I’m reading a book called “Culture as Weapon” by Nato Thompson. 

7. What was your childhood like?

I was the oldest of four children. I’m the only boy. I grew up in a rough part of the country—I grew up in Pennsylvania, where there used to be lots of factories and now, there’s a big influx of Latino immigration. I think, growing up, I was sort of in the middle of watching the community change. I come from an immigrant family that grew up in a blue-collar working-class American town. 

8. What interests outside of art do you have?

I definitely like to keep up with politics, because I am in the army reserve. So, often time, what happens in government really does affect me, whether it comes to national disasters, or global pandemics. So, I keep up with the news quite a bit. I used to work in journalism, so I like to keep up with a little foreign policy, a little bit of global and national politics. Yeah, I’m a news hound. 

9. If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?

I would go somewhere in India. But, it’s a big country, so maybe [New] Delhi and Mumbai.

10. What is your favorite food? 

I would say arepas: it’s a Latin dish.