Narrative, Historical, Identity
The history of Latinos in the United States is often overlooked and forgotten by systematic forms of oppression that attempt to silence this culture. This series is informed by my families’ history as immigrants, and my upbringings in American culture. Working with clay allows me to speak without words, expressing the reality that many Latinos have endured living in American society that rewards conformity and obedience. By using figurative ceramic sculptures as a vehicle to reconnect with my roots, my work records and documents the linear and fragmented memories of the struggles and injustice facing many people of color.
The American Dream is one that brought my parents to come to the United States, hoping for an opportunity to work for better quality of life. I use the motif of the bed to talk about dreams and what they represent for people growing up in the struggle. The bed is a place to rest and dream, but for many the pressures of life cannot be escaped. The search for a better quality of life, is one that has been handed down generationally for my family.
The Sleeping Mexican figurine common in the Southwestern lands along the United States and Mexico border has historically been noted for its icon appearance. Early 19th century descriptions were seen in travelogues and photographs of Mexicanos seen taken a well-deserved break from working in la milpa harvesting crops, covering themselves with large blankets and sombreros to protect themselves from the heat. The figurine became somewhat of a prototype and has become recognized for its conflicting ideologies. As the figurine grew more common and popular, the representation and interpretation were changed. What was once seen as a symbol of rest and relaxing moments from the hard-working life, has been changed to mean drunkenness and laziness.
Sueños, is a juxtaposition which examines my contemplation of struggle and rest. By putting my figures in bed, I reference a luxury which my parents struggled to get, a place to sleep. The bed is place where we come to rest and dreams occur, but for many people of color it’s a place where the pressure of continuing the struggle in order to achieve a better quality of life is unbroken constant. By showing this work, my hope is to bring a voice and shed light onto the complex rhetoric used to portray Mexicans as lazy, poor, and dirty.