Women's History Month is in full swing, and California's Southwestern College Art Gallery is celebrating by honoring Chicana artists.
In the exhibition “Ni Solo Mujeres: Intersecting Chicana Identities,” curator Leticia Gomez Franco put together brilliant and beautiful pieces from 11 artists that "extoll intersectional identities within feminist struggles."
“It challenges the idea that oppressive dichotomies can only be defeated through homogenous unity and instead presents a collection of work that celebrates the diversity within Chicana identity, and the power that lies in that intersectionality,” notes a press release about the exhibition, which will be on display until April 6.
Click through below to get a glimpse of the powerful pieces.
1. "The Saint," Alessandra Moctezuma
"This piece is called "The Saint." It depicts a woman dancing on top of a table, surrounded by a halo of lipsticks that are morphing into bullets, our warrior paints. Creating these works was cathartic. They helped me define who I did not want to be as a woman – not a mother, not a bride, not a wife and not a dancer. They liberated me to imagine a utopian existence of emotion and creativity. In my life, they have become talismans that help counter both our very human needs to be mothers, to be wives and to be fighters. They are waves that I can ride or ladders to climb. Me ayudan a hacer la vida mas llevadera. They freed me to be who I wanted to be: a Mexican, a Chicana, a Luchadora." - Alessandra Moctezuma
2. "Revolutionary Love Notes: Sandra Cisneros," Angélica Becerra
"I’m a queer, immigrant Chicanx feminist artist. This means my art deals with the intersections of being all of these things at once, and how I negotiate them daily. I wanted to paint womxn in particular to remind myself and others that our current work and struggles are not the first. Womxn before us have built a foundation for many of the movements we take part in today. I also wanted to create the images I myself wish I could have grown up with. I did not learn about these amazing womxn until I was in college. I painted the inspirational posters I never had in the hopes that other queers of color would see themselves affirmed and empowered." - Angélica Becerra
3. "Perico Y Mousey," Berenice Badillo
"I barely graduated high school. My school counselor warned me that I would never make it to college. I never went to class because I was not represented in the history books that I was made to read, and not having heroes that looked like me impacted my self identity and ability to see a future. I did, however, identify with Southern California gang culture, and I made sure I attended the prom with my friends all suited up zoot suit style. This painting was adapted from my 1992 school prom picture and marks, for me, my existence in a world where not even my name would be pronounced correctly. "You are in America now, not Mexico, BURR NEICE." As a current Ph.D. student in art psychotherapy and as a community artist, I make sure that the stories of the people I serve are clearly depicted on the walls of their communities while utilizing art as a platform to discuss difficult issues, such as mental health stigma, racism and social change. Involving community members to engage as artists assists in building communities by creating social capital and providing alternative identities and social realities." - Berenice Badillo
4. Other Feminist Histories (La Sala de Nati), Carolyn Castaño
"Other Feminist Histories ( La Sala de Nati)" features three little-known female heroines prominent in the social and cultural revolutions of Latin America: Tanya Bunke-Bider (aka “Tania La Guerillera), Violeta Parra and Natalia Revuelta. Historically, paradigm-shifting events, such as the Cuban Revolution, the Colombian war of Independence and the Chilean social movements, are attributed to grand male actors. The names we often hear are Simon Bolivar, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and Salvador Allende, among others. This is Violeta Parra, the Chilean singer songwriter whose music was the soundtrack for the student movements in Chile and Argentina." - Carolyn Castaño
5. "Dulce Orgasmico," Crystal Galindo
"Crystal Galindo's latest series, "Dulceria" ("Candy Store"), uses Mexican candy, sweets and culturally specific snacks to encourage women and femmes of color to shed the guilt that exists in our community when we practice self indulgence and independence." - Crystal Galindo
6. "Viva la Mujer," Melanie Cervantes
"This collaboration mixes Melanie Cervantes' portrait of a Xicana drawn a few years ago with a pattern Jesus Barraza pieced together from an ancient Olmec stone stamp created approximately 3,000 years ago. This mix of ancient and new brings together printmakers across generations. The stamp pattern used was one of many that were created to print on fabric and paper and to express the cosmology of the Olmecs. These elements are combined with the feminist declaration, "Viva La Mujer," which affirms the duo's belief that sisters must be at the center and at the forefront of transformational social change." Melanie Cervantes
7. "A Fine Tuned Machine," PANCA
"For a long time, I felt uneasy about being cataloged as Chicana in the U.S. I came to live in Mexico and that change enabled the possibility to double the perspective on our own cultural state. It mirrors our existence, and makes it easier to see what it means to be a Chicana, without being limited by the cultural and geographical boundaries in the United States. In Mexico, I’m still considered Chicana. This painting is an interpretation of the current political events happening in the United States from a point of view of someone living in the border region. It is a reaction. It is the perspective of a woman. It is the perspective of someone considered a Chicana. This piece is a way of exposing certain truths that are being masked and modified. A fined tuned machine represents the system of oppression, racism and exploitation disguised as the American Government. One does not exist without the other." - PANCA
8. "La Tierra Mia," Irma Patricia Aguayo
"It is our responsibility to seek ways in which to contribute toward preserving Chican@ culture. To preserve and respect what is ours. All of my pieces belong to my very personal Chicana experience. I come from a family of brown hues and indigenous features. Our skin has been our strength and our struggle. Our brown skin can be the aesthetic subject of paintings, but it can also represent the brown plights of Chican@s, from art, to movement, to life. This is my partial contribution." - Irma Patricia Aguayo
9. "Ni Santas, Ni Putas, Solo Mujeres," Rotmi Enciso
"I was born on December 1 in Mexico City in the year 1962. I believe in the possibility of looking for other ways to see, to look, to live, to be a feminist lesbian artivist. There are two elements primordial for me: feminism, which is the prism, the lens from which I see myself and act, and my true passion is to capture the history of women. I believe in artivism as a tool for change and social transformation. The art that allows us to create spaces and new looks, critical and emancipating from memory, from our realities and from our dreams." - Rotmi Enciso
10. "La Star," Shizu Saldamando
Saldamando’s work depicts how American social spaces are the laboratories for new ways of being. Her portraits playfully suggest that race, gender and ethnicity act as white noise to the scene at hand – audible, yet not identifiable. Saldamando’s visual biographies, which use friends as her subjects, capture the energy of youthful experimentation and the freedom of malleable categories for identity. “I am interested in documenting mundane social moments as a way to glorify everyday people who are often overlooked, yet whose existence is the embodiment and legacy of historical struggle. We are all interested in the process of creating and re-contextualizing culture by virtue of language, dress, and memory.” - Shizu Saldamando
11. "Las Santas Locas de San Francisco / La Mission," Yolanda M. Lopez
"Yolanda Lopez, a San Diego native, feminist and pioneer of the Chicana movement is best known for her Guadalupe Series. As a long time fixture and jewel of the Mission art scene in San Francisco, she continues to be at the forefront of artists responding to gentrification. This photograph is part of a series titled “Las Santas Locas de San Francisco” taken by Yolanda in 1979. The images are a beautiful representation of life in the Mission District, of mujeres in the Mission, of community building and solidarity. With these images and the rest of her work, Yolanda continues to fight against the erasure of a neighborhood and culture." - Yolanda Lopez