13 Young Latina Artists Changing The Contemporary Art Landscape

An oldie, but a goodie by Priscilla Frank for Huffington Post: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/young-latina-artists_n_5538321

 

When family tales are passed from generation to generation with no single point of origin, when history fails to document years of pain and struggle, when personal identity becomes too complex to describe in a single sitting, when memory and imagination mingle in the land of dreams, this is where art comes in very handy.

For young Latina artists, art is an invaluable tool to archive the past, understand the present and activate change in the future. Yet, as with many underrepresented populations, Latina artists and the work they produce are often silenced and overlooked. An exhibition entitled “Y, Qué? (And What!)” is here to change that.

Composed entirely of Latin artists under the age of 35, “Y, Qué?” presents a diverse array of multimedia artworks through which to navigate the past, archive the intangible, occupy multiple spaces and personas and unabashedly declare one’s existence. Exploring themes of race, class, gender, sexuality and cultural identity, the selected emerging artists don’t just tell us their stories, they show us.

“Y, Qué?” is the 19th edition of the “Young Latino Artists Exhibition,” a highly anticipated exhibition series at the Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin, Texas. Guest curated by Más Rudas Chicana Collective, this year’s stunning exhibition showcases the bold future of female artists and the unrelenting power of art to make sense of the world around us. Behold, 13 young Latina artists changing the landscape of contemporary art.

    • 1. Natalia Anciso
    • Anciso a Chicana–Tejana artist and educator born and raised in the lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Her work "Pinches
      Anciso a Chicana–Tejana artist and educator born and raised in the lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Her work “Pinches Rinches” series examines the lost history of Tejanos along the Texas–Mexican Border, many of whom were lynched and killed by Texas Rangers taking the law into their own hands. Her work explores the rich memories of these traumatizing events, many of which history has forgotten.
    • 2. Daphne Arthur
    • Arthur explores ideas of embodiment in her work, navigating the human form's futility, impermanence and ethereality. Her chao
      Arthur explores ideas of embodiment in her work, navigating the human form’s futility, impermanence and ethereality. Her chaotic sculptures, blurring boundaries between interior and exterior, require viewers to move around them to fully digest them. According to the gallery, her fantastical piece “El Juego Del Tra Tra” is “about life and its incapacity to exist without the consequence or existent of death and decay.”
    • 3. Nanibah Chacon
    • Chacon channels the pop-like style of 1940s and 1950s illustrators, creating massive images that hit you as instantaneously a
      Chacon channels the pop-like style of 1940s and 1950s illustrators, creating massive images that hit you as instantaneously as an advertisement. Her piece above comments on women’s role in contemporary culture as well as the constant human desire to obtain and objectify natural elements.
    • 4. Alexis Herrera
    • The placard next to Herrera's piece wonderfully specifies how the artist, a "sexual deviant born and raised in the swamp of H
      The placard next to Herrera’s piece wonderfully specifies how the artist, a “sexual deviant born and raised in the swamp of Houston,” “can be found in her cave weaving madness into silk.” Her artwork explores monsters, memory and mythology using fabric, plastic, screenprints and more. Her piece on view incorporates monstrous forms from cautionary Texas folktales, inviting viewers into her own monstrous subconscious.
    • 5. Suzy Gonzalez
    • Gonzalez investigates marginalized identities through her work, in this case, using the language of feminized animal-based fo
      Gonzalez investigates marginalized identities through her work, in this case, using the language of feminized animal-based food products and beauty pageants. The piece explores the relationship between the female human and non-human between the inequalities of the female human and the female nonhuman, touching on aspects of fashion, advertising and gender performance.
    • 6. Linda Lucía Santana
    • Santana's work responds to the fading memory of Mexican narrative ballads, called <em>corridos</em>. Inspired by Magical Real
      Santana’s work responds to the fading memory of Mexican narrative ballads, called corridos. Inspired by Magical Realism, she accompanies corridos with fictitious portraits of their subjects, most of which were never photographed. In her work, “Santana plays the role of artist, archivist and a corridista ,” activating lost histories, living memories and the imaginative space in between.
    • 7. Annette Martinez
  • Martinez is a Mexican American Artist and Computer Science Instructor whose work was influenced by the hardships and discrimi
    Martinez is a Mexican American Artist and Computer Science Instructor whose work was influenced by the hardships and discrimination faced growing up with immigrant parents. based on gender and race. In her conceptual black-and-white photographs, Martinez explores the suffering and objectification of women.
  • 8. Fabiola Torralba
  • Torralba is "politically–grounded and spiritually–driven from a queer, feminist, and (un)documented immigrant perspective." H
    Torralba is “politically–grounded and spiritually–driven from a queer, feminist, and (un)documented immigrant perspective.” Her piece above, inspired by Mexican altares and Rasquache aesthetic, addresses the sexual violence undocumented women face on their journey to cross the border, exploring the understanding of home as a safe space.
  • 9. Cristy C. Road
  • Road is a Cuban-American artist whose graphic memoir "Spit and Passion" addresses coming out while maintaining her Cuban root
    Road is a Cuban-American artist whose graphic memoir “Spit and Passion” addresses coming out while maintaining her Cuban roots, alongside her budding obsession with the band Green Day. “Spit and Passion” addresses the years Road spent in the closet, due to the fact that, according to her, “salvaging her Cuban heritage was just as vital as owning her queer identity.”
  • 10. Senalka McDonald
  • McDonald, an artist of Panamanian descent, explores the relationship between pop culture and international war in "Songs of S
    McDonald, an artist of Panamanian descent, explores the relationship between pop culture and international war in “Songs of Surrender ’89,” a disk set and video performance. In 1989, in an effort to make Panamanian leader, general, and dictator Manuel Noriega surrender, the U.S. military played loud pop-rock music day and night. McDonald covers the 95 songs used, in a salsa-heay style reminiscent of her Panamanian youth.
  • 11. Audrya Flores
  • Flores' work addresses dreams, supernatural visions and her roots growing up in the border town of Brownsville, Texas. Creati
    Flores’ work addresses dreams, supernatural visions and her roots growing up in the border town of Brownsville, Texas. Creating assemblages and collage from found and recycled materials, Flores uses her family’s tradition of storytelling to weave narratives of personal identity and life along the Mexico-Texas border.
  • 12. Hermanas Iglesias
  • Made up of Lisa and Janelle Iglesias, the Hermanas Iglesias collaborated with their mother to knit "Nude Suits," reminiscent
    Made up of Lisa and Janelle Iglesias, the Hermanas Iglesias collaborated with their mother to knit “Nude Suits,” reminiscent of her upbringing on a Norway farm. The knit body suits, which contain scars, beauty marks and tattoos belonging to the sisters, were then photographed and documented at various landscapes.
  • BONUS: Hermanas Iglesias
    The sisters also installed an awesome piñata titled "Nothing Last Forever," a sugary jab at Damien Hirst's iconic diamond sku
    The sisters also installed an awesome piñata titled “Nothing Last Forever,” a sugary jab at Damien Hirst’s iconic diamond skull “For The Love Of God.” Footage from the striking ceremony is on view alongside the skull’s sparkly remains and insides. Who hasn’t wanted to bash open a Hirst skull before? Also, free candy!
  • 13. Awilda Rodriguez Lora
  • Lora is a queer performance artist who views her work as a form of therapy, constantly challenging her gender and sexuality.
    Lora is a queer performance artist who views her work as a form of therapy, constantly challenging her gender and sexuality. Using digital technology as a tool to recover memory, Lora explores autobiographical details while making the private public.

“Young Latina Artists 19: Y, Qué?” runs until September 7, 2014 at Mexic-Arte in Austin, Texas.

Advertisements

‘My Papi Has A Motorcycle’ Pays Loving Tribute To A California Childhood

This write up and interview for NPR by Leila Fadel and Samantha Balaban. Check out the site for audio!

 

My Papi Has a Motorcycle, by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña, pays tribute to the rapidly-changing city of Corona, Calif., where Quintero grew up.

Kokila

In My Papi Has A Motorcyle, a little girl named Daisy Ramona waits for her dad to come home from work so they can ride around their city, Corona, Calif., on the back of his motorcycle. They pass a tortilla shop, a raspado shop, her grandparent’s house, and her dad’s construction site.

Zeke Peña, left, and Isabel Quintero

Zeke Peña/Charles Lenida

 

The book is illustrated by Zeke Peña and written by Isabel Quintero. It’s a love letter to the city, and her father.

“When I was a kid my dad would get home from work, and he put me on the back of his motorcycle and he would drive me around the neighborhood I grew up in in Corona,” Quintero remembers, “and you know, it was the ’80s, so there were no helmets — in the book, obviously, there’s helmets, but it was a different time. And you know, I really was holding onto that memory and it was so special to me, that relationship between myself and my dad.”

My Papi Has a Motorcycle, by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña

Kokila

This summer we’ve been asking authors and illustrators how they work together to bring stories to life. They often don’t — but illustrator Zeke Peña says he and Quintero chatted back and forth constantly. “She even was cool enough to go drive in her car around the neighborhood that she grew up in so I could physically see the space and see the turns of the corners, see the trees, the way the homes are built — kind of those things. This shows through in the story, right? Like there’s really specific things that are from Isabel’s memory, you know? I sneak some things from my own memory in there a little bit as a kid, but there’s this specificity. That’s what for me makes the story so strong, is that Isabel has this personal experience, and we’re we’re trying to tap into that and illustrate that, and kind of create that spark for for other readers young and old.”

“When I was a kid in Corona there was a tortilleria — in the book it’s Tortilleria Estrella, in real life it was Tortilleria Don Leon — and that was torn down,” Quintero says. “I think those things are are pretty specific to where I was at. But I think other people can connect to living in a community where you walk to places like a tortilleria or to Joy’s Market. Zeke did such an amazing job with that market, that so many people have told me, like, I know that market. That market’s in my neighborhood, you know, with the piñatas outside, and the little gumball machines, and the carnicería inside the store. So it is very specific, but it’s also a story that especially Latinx kids in other parts of the country can enjoy or relate to.”

“For me in the book, it’s like that first page — Daisy Ramona’s working on the motorcycle, and she’s working with this toolbox, and that was my dad, like that’s kind of really what I got from my dad, was you know, learning how to work with my hands, learning how to work hard and stuff,” Peña says. “But I think that with Isabel and I, it’s nice because a lot of our backgrounds as people who identify as Latinx or Chicanx or Chicanos, there’s this really narrow definition of what that is. But the nice thing with my collaboration with Isabel is that we span like a spectrum of that, right? And it doesn’t necessarily look just one way. I hope that the youth reading our book walk away with a validation of their own story, and where their own family comes from and their heritage. And their right to it, their right to express that as they wish.”

Isabel Quintero says she teared up at this image of Daisy Ramona’s visit to her dad’s work site.

Kokila

 

“Going off the toolbox,” Quintero adds, “my dad also works with his hands. And so that scene, that spread, where Daisy Ramona gets to the worksite with her dad is probably one of my favorite scenes in the book, because Zeke was able to capture so much emotion of what it’s like for a kid like myself, like when I was a kid, going to work with my dad, and that happiness and that joy of getting to see where my dad worked. You know, hearing the sound of the the music, the music in Spanish in the background, and the men yelling at each other and cracking jokes. So when I opened to that spread I cried, because you don’t see a lot of celebration of working class people in children’s books, especially not working class brown men. And I know there will be a lot of children who will be able to say, oh, that’s my dad.”

We couldn’t ignore that we’re talking about Isabel Quintero’s love letter to her city and her people; Zeke Peña is from El Paso — and earlier this month his city suffered an enormous loss, a mass shooting that targeted the Latinx community and took the lives of 20 people.

“It breaks my heart, it breaks my heart to see these people suffering. To see my people suffering. Our community,” he says. “You know, who am I to be commenting on it. I do have friends and family that were affected directly. My love goes out to those people. And also my action goes out to those people, right? That’s something that we’re all going to have to live with for the rest of our lives. And we’re going to hopefully do something to change it.”

This piece was produced for radio by Samantha Balaban and Barrie Hardymon, and adapted for the Web by Petra Mayer.

Border wall: Interactive mural in Tijuana tells stories of deported

Check this article out here

TIJUANA, Mexico — Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana returned Friday to the Mexican beach where her father entered the U.S. illegally before she was born, this time to put final touches on a mural of adults who came to the U.S. illegally as young children and were deported. Visitors who hold up their phones to the painted faces are taken to a website that voices first-person narratives.

There is a deported U.S. veteran. There are two deported mothers with children who were born in the U.S. There is a man who would have been eligible for an Obama-era program to shield people who came to the U.S. when they were very young from deportation, but was deported less than a year before the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, took effect in 2012.

The project blends Mexico’s rich history of muralists with what can loosely be called interactive or performance art on the 1,954-mile U.S.-Mexico border. At the same Tijuana beach during an art festival in 2005, David Smith Jr., known as “The Human Cannonball,” flashed his passport, lowered himself into a barrel and was shot over the wall, landing on a net with U.S. Border Patrol agents nearby. In 2017, professional swimmers crossed the border from the U.S. in the Pacific Ocean and landed on the same beach, where a Mexican official greeted them with stamped passports and schoolchildren cheered.

Last month, an artist installed three pink seesaws though a border wall that separates El Paso, Texas, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

De La Cruz Santana, 28, conceived the interactive mural as part of a doctoral dissertation at University of California, Davis, in Spanish with a focus on literature and immigrant experiences. The faces are affixed with barcodes that link to audio on the project website. Her dissertation will include written arguments for DACA-style benefits to anyone who comes to the U.S. as a young child, without any of the disqualifiers like criminal history that former President Barack Obama included.

“Technology is one of the best ways and venues for people to tell their stories,” said De La Cruz, whose parents obtained legal status through former President Ronald Reagan’s amnesty law.

With a $7,500 grant, De La Cruz, who was born and raised in California, directed a team of about 15 people who painted on polyester canvass at a Tijuana art gallery called “House of the Tunnel,” which was once used to smuggle drugs in a secret underground passage to San Diego. She partnered with Mauro Carrera, a longtime friend and a muralist who lives in Fresno, California.

The project is also deeply personal for Carrera, 32, who was born in Mexico, crossed the border illegally as a toddler, and obtained legal status through his father, who had amnesty. He grew up with friends and neighbors in the U.S. illegally.

Carrera said the project aims to “see the people behind the politics.” The deportees painted at least 80% of their own faces under his direction.

“I feel I’m right in the middle of the issue,” he said as others rolled canvases over steel poles that were topped with coiled wire installed after Donald Trump became president.

Last year, many Central Americans in a large caravan of asylum seekers gravitated to the beach, which is downhill from a light tower, bull ring and restaurants. The U.S. side of the beach is usually empty, except for Border Patrol agents parked in their vehicles and occasional hikers.

De La Cruz Santana is struck by the lively atmosphere on the Mexican side and quiet in the U.S.

“If you look past this wall on the U.S. side, there’s nothing,” she said. “I wanted to erase the border.”