"Mestiza y Mestizo "
Pastel on paper
noun: mestizo; plural noun: mestizos
(in Latin America) a man of mixed race, especially one having Spanish and indigenous descent.
Mexico, in my eyes, is a region plagued by contrast and injustice; it is a place where beauty is hidden in the humblest ceiling and dirt can be smelled in the most ostentatious places. Since its foundation Mexican society has been polarized into two groups denoted by race and social class. The first group, are the "privileged" ones, which are more often of caucasian and European ancestry. Meanwhile, the second group is mainly represented by the lower class, and characterized by being of indigenous origin.
. I was always intrigued by this racial and social division, I was constantly striving to understand how could a country work in such a way. Yet it is important to note that I was born into a life of privilege, therefore I have had the privilege of experiencing a comprehensive, bicultural education, that allowed me to understand the values and traditions of two societies: the Mexican, and the American. Being part of the privileged class I was able to live a comfortable life but also a distant life. A life away from the "real" Mexico, a life in which some friends constantly said racist, classist, and "machista" remarks, and we felt obliged to corroborate the aggression with our laughter. A life in which I felt my actions fostered and encouraged this division.
Consequently, I grew up asking myself, "How can I consider myself Mexican if I have never experienced a social system shaped against me? How can I feel Mexican if I have never left home because I needed to? What does it mean to be Mexican?"
I had been encapsulated into an idea that in order to be Mexican you needed to be a brown skinned, funny, working individual; and that if you wanted to be successful you needed to be the opposite: a white-skinned, Eurocentric, white collar character. I blindly believed that the barrier between skin tones determined our identity and ultimately… our motherland.
My artwork elaborates on all of the commonalities I share and I find within Mexicans, as well as denouncing the abysmal social inequity that surrounds us. The totality of my pieces propose a meeting point in between the chaos and the idealization of our culture. To achieve this I explore themes like ancestral catholic traditions mixed with indigenous imagery, violence converging with social hierarchy, cultural memory displayed through brutalism, cultural rescue through mass media production etc. My medium choices are directly related to the social landscape that I live in; I am trying to create an artistic image of “Mestizaje ''through the juxtaposition of mediums, yet still preserving the feel of cultural familiarity.
My practice is a reaction to the social problematic that in my opinion defines what it means to be Mexican. I believe we are still fighting to overcome the idea of separation through class and race. I believe we are still soaked in the residue of the stories of conquest and success. I believe we are running away from each other just to find ourselves on the other side of the mirror, on the other side of the street, on the other side of the river. I portray my roots, my dreams, my intimacy and my beliefs to give the audience a gateway into my traditions, my family, my story, myself; while condemning the social problematic occurring in my everyday environment. I am creating a personal visual archive of what it means to be part of a culture that relies on the union of races to thrive. I hope that after experiencing my work you will challenge your ideals on behavior and social class, breaking the barrier that separates "you" from "them."