Margaret García

My great grandmother had 24 children, five sets of twins in that number. Grandma only had 13 with her stepchildren. Some died in WWII, some moved away to other states, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and other parts of Texas. So I was born into a family that has been here a long time and still have members in Mexico. I was born September 20, 1951 in East Los Angeles, not far from where my father was born. I grew up in Boyle Heights and my mother still owns the house there. Grandma was born 1906 and was the eldest of the 24. She is one of the most important figures in my life. She exposed me to art and books, corrected my English and my Spanish, and embued me with a strong sense of self, a strong sense of pride. I didn’t think that was unusual, but now I understand how special our circumstances were. She owned a Utrillo painting. It hung in her living room. She went to school and studied nursing, cut her hair short and wore pants.

It has made me realize how important my family is and what those relations mean. My work concerns itself with the individual. The painting is a document of that moment I share with them. The most important thing is the moment. In this we share stories about ourselves and how we share our lives. The portrait becomes a record of that moment. It is so much harder to stereotype a people or a person whose face is presented before you and you are told or you read that the individual is a teacher, a filmmaker, an author. So as a whole, the body of work I provide is a look at my community through the presence of the individual. The painting of El Tecolote is a restaurant in East LA on César Chávez Blvd. Lalo Guerrero is a legendary song writer and musician my father used to dance to. The opportunity to paint his portrait was one of the most delightful experiences I will remember. This is my history and my family.