Victor Sanchez: The Benevolent Tornado

MCBA Outlook Gallery
August 8–September 30, 2023
Free and open to the public


The Benevolent Tornado is an installation that pushes back against the storm of book bans that has been escalating in recent years, currently affecting students in 21 states

“I propose there’s a benevolent tornado speeding ferociously over a neighborhood, leaving a debris of banned words, stories, ideas, and wisdom within books that it picked up from warehouses where they were stored by fearful people,” writes Victor Sanchez, the artist behind The Benevolent Tornado. “The tornado would then litter the words, stories, ideas, and wisdom within books around municipal buildings and neighborhood streets, giving people back access to use, read, explore, and share them.”

To support this work, Victor received a $500 stipend through an opportunity called MFA Launch Programming at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Victor Sanchez (they/them) is a visual artist living and working in Minneapolis, and Victor’s background traverses many artistic disciplines including dance, theater, music, set design, graphic design, museum exhibit design, art installations, mural design, and illustration. Growing up in Chicago left an indelible presence on their sense of diversity, poverty, ingenuity, and grit.

Struggling to succeed in Catholic school and often caught in the act of drawing in classes led Victor to unrewarding chores and homework. Hours commuting on the elevated train filled the evenings and weekends while studying classical ballet until the age of fifteen. As a student at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Victor majored in industrial design and studio artVictor moved to Minnesota to study theology, drawing and painting, art history, flamenco, aikido, and organic gardening.

Completing a BA at Augsburg University in studio art with a minor in art history, Victor is now an MFA 2024 candidate at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. The central themes of  Victor’s work and research as a visual artist are the historical and present-day connections between Indigenous and African communities in the Americas; the effects of forced migration; exploitation; genocide; slavery and its ongoing evolution; adjustments, inventions, and shifts in culture; visual art; science; and language.

Victor has a passion for making fermented foods, is a connoisseur of sauces, is curious about diverse cultures, and is learning the art of making mead. Victor believes a healthy community is like a garden, diverse in fauna and flora which often includes weeds. Victor loves to build things and has family that has been supportive of most, but not all, of the quirks. Oh yes, Victor also loves opera, rock climbing, soccer, futsal, hockey, baseball, tennis, ping pong, libraries, and secondhand bookstores.