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The struggle to preserve their Mexican heritage yet become"American" provides a conflicted sense-of-self for Mexicanimmigrants living in the United States. Contemporary Mexicanimmigrant art expresses the tension between these opposingpressures and therefore the complex Mexican immigrantidentity.Identidad artist, Rubén Cruz Ortiz says that Mexican American artists engage in a "...love hate relationship with the American Dream," like "a romance gone wrong." While the promise of opportunities lures immigrants from their homes in Mexico, the harsh realities of their lives in the United States sit in stark contrast to their hopes for a better life; for most Mexican immigrants the "American Dream" remains elusive. As they attempt to assimilate yet preserve their heritage, Mexican immigrants grapple with dichotomous and conflicting Mexican and American definitions of place, class and gender. Torn between two different ways of life and expectations of living, they come to identify themselves as somehow neither and both Mexican and American. The art and artists in Identidad express the tensions faced by Mexican immigrants and their struggle to create and communicate the unique Mexican immigrant identity.

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