The portraiture of suffering, shame, pride and bulged bodies in uncertain times.
This week I have been working on a new project. A completely different thing from my regular practice of creating intricate Fabulous Poufs designs.
This week I decided to take part on one of probably the biggest demonstrations of my home country about violence against women. On sunday April 24th, several feminist organisations and women in Mexico demonstrated in various cities against a mind-blowing wave of violence in Mexico.
I would like to briefly explain how it all happened for me.
(Last) Tuesday. Morning.
My daughter is at nursery and I have plenty of time (finally! tears in my eyes…) to grab my brushes and quietly work on a watercolour I had left unattended. Looking for something to listen while I worked, the name of Kara Walker popped. “Who is she?” – sorry Art world, I’ve been a mum and I have no shame on telling that I have been living in a Cbeebies world.
I looked into A Sublety of the Marvelous Sugar Baby exhibition and a talk at Harvard came along. I started watching it.
Her creative process explaining on how she came up with this installation was so clear and inspiring. Most of all, I really loved to hear from her thatshe could not escape being political and talk about race.
And then I thought…
Where are the renown Mexican artists talking about political issues and making a statement of the current problems that our country is dealing with? Women’s rights? Students being killed by the military, journalists shot in the head for being outspoken? On-your-face-shameless Political Corruption? Where is that work that speaks up? How come that an opportunity to make the most out of the public international spaceis not being taken?
I thought it was time to take part, at least from this side of the world and start a project on women’s issues because I experienced it on every single day when I lived in Mexico City. I was one of thousands of women, many more before me, dealing with sexual harassment, filthy words whispering in your ear, struggling every morning on what NOT to wear to provoke men on the street. I even had somebody taking photos of my legs and under my skirt. Oh yes, I had experienced all that.
After all this time working on a more European style for my Poufs, I was very happy to rediscover Pre-hispanic art. Something that definitely was closer to home and my heart. Finding the classic iconography of Mexican skulls (calaveritas) and Day of the Dead imagery was certainly everywhere. Indigenous costumes with wide skirts and colourful broad shirts. But then I found these female figurines of Tlatilco, from Central Mexico that they struck me rather interesting to compare with the European goddess figurines from Ancient art.
I wondered about the shape of the Mexican female body… Do they match with what we see on TV shows, on advertising campaigns for beauty products, hair products? You must know that more than half of these advertising images we grow up with in Mexico are rammed with tall, slim and blond white women.
What do I see in these photographs? Wide faces, long dark hair, dark lips, dark race. Mexican women.
Pledging for justice.
Crying out for justice.
Standing for their rights, for their jobs, for their daughters.
This has been a very fulfilling exercise and I certainly do not see myself giving up anytime soon.
#24A #VivasNosQueremos #NoesNo