In An Honest Liar, a 2014 documentary about magician James Randi, the narrative shifts to his longtime partner, the artist José Alvarez (D.O.P.A.), who was charged with living under a false identity. Born Deyvi Orangel Peña Arteaga, he fled Venezuela in the early 1980s. “It was a very violent environment for gay people,” he told Hyperallergic. “I had guns pointed to my head by the military police.” When his US visa expired, he obtained false papers, thinking it would be a temporary situation. It wasn’t — he’d been Randi’s partner for over 20 years when he was charged with identity theft. He was eventually detained at Krome Detention Center in Miami, where he spent two months in 2012.
He fell into a deep depression upon his incarceration, sleeping for days at a time. It was Julio, a fellow detainee who’d come to the US from Brazil, who encouraged Alvarez to draw, instructing the artist to sketch his portrait. This temporary balm to his despondent heart transformed into a project, Krome, now on display at the Boca Raton Museum of Art.