Roots: Ecuador and Kichwa Kañari
Job Title: HiSET Instructor at El Centro Hispano
Community Leadership: Buncombe County Schools
HiSET Instructor at El Centro Hispano
Byron Tenesaca is a Visual Artist & Bilingual Educator based in North Carolina. He was born in an ancestral Kichwa Kañari community of the Ecuadorian Andes to a family of basket weavers and farmers. At the age of 11 he journeyed with his grandmother to North Carolina to meet and live with his biological mother (both of them fundamental in his work). His passion for art and education has brought him to hold various leadership positions with The Bascom, The Asheville Art Museum, UNCA, WCU, Tryon Arts & Crafts School, Diamante Arts & Cultural Center, Buncombe County Schools, and El Centro Hispano. A certified K-12 Art instructor, Byron holds a M.A.T in Comprehensive Education from Western Carolina University (WCU). He was a Residency Artist at The Bascom in Highlands, NC and became one of 50 artists selected to be part of The Asheville Art Museums 2019 inaugural exhibition Appalachia Now! An Interdisciplinary Survey of Contemporary Art in Southern Appalachia. His artworks in various media, document, layer and weave memories, culture, and history from his Andean Kichwa-Kañari heritage and that of his post migration to NC, together. Through his work he explores topics relating to immigration, indigeneity, and positive identity development through food, dance, and storytelling. He often brings forth the narratives of his grandmother and mother who play a vital role in his identity and art making process.