Many of the pieces
selected for inclusion in this text are autobiographical. They are images
that reflect a certain nostalgia for my childhood or country, Mexico. Throughout
my career I have used the images of women to depict the struggles, triumphs
and betrayals of history and the powers that be. It is my hope that these
images and depictions can continue to give voice and strength to those who
fight for survival, rights, and many times life in this country.
Gouache and collage on paper
Angelitas is autobiographical in nature; it depicts memories of my
childhood growing up in a conservative Mexican family. As the second in a
family of seven children, born and raised in Guadalajara, MX, I experienced
many of the traditional festivities that go on throughout Mexican and many
Southwestern neighborhoods and communities during the year. This image reflects
on my particular memories of the posadas that take place during Christmas
time. I have memories of my mother dressing my sisters and me in handmade
costumes as angelitas or pastorcitas for the annual pageant. My father, ever
proud of his children (six daughters and one son), would photograph us in
our special dresses and costumes. This image was inspired by those old photographs.
The painting recounts the bonds between my sister and me as we are linked
by our dresses and hearts or spirits to the traditions and memories of our
La Guadalupana, 1994
Women have always been the central focus of my work. Through the images of
women I try to put forth the strength and fortitude that I have witnessed.
She is an image to empower and inspire people and causes, that for me has
come to symbolize the strength of women throughout various stages. The image
also harks to a religious practice that is made of myth and magic as well
as faith. The image of the Virgen is my homeland, it is part of being Mexican
and so in venerating her, I also pay my respects to the land, Indigenous people,
and the place.
Yo Soy, Lithograph
The text in the background of this image is taken from the Spanish writer,
Camilo Jose Cela. "…flota en el aire, como un pesar que se va clavando en
los corazones." These words help to draw the viewer into the world of this
little girl who sits in the seat of her country's colors and history. She
turns her face away and confidently holds her artist's brushes, her implements
of portrayal. I choose to include text in my images as a way of harking back
to and remembering the colonial practices of conversion. The power of the
images to help impose a new way of seeing the world was augmented by the inclusion
of words and text. By extension, I hope that the viewer enters into the world
of these characters and is touched enough to be open to new perspectives and
ways of seeing.
La Virgen de los Pescados, 1993. Serigraph
La Virgen de los Pescados sits among the colors and flora of Mexico.
She was created after a trip to Oaxaca and for me symbolizes mestizaje, with
its inherent struggles. She is a mediator between churches and pyramids. Surrounded
by the flowers of Juchitán, she is a depiction of beauty and yet her gaze
is direct. While the Virgen has become a trope of Mexican and Chicano imagery
for nationalism, I also see her as an assertion of the strength and power
of women throughout the regions of Mexico. This Virgen, a proud contemporary
mestiza, is an icon of the women of Oaxaca.