Imagínate II: Ana Teresa Fernandez

December 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Welcome to Imagínate.

Here we will encourage the re-imagining of the Latina in American popular culture, and in turn, our imaginations, by raising the profile of women challenging stereotypes.

In this, the second installment of Imagínate, I want to introduce you to the artist Ana Teresa Fernandez. Her work is an incredible inspiration to me, addressing the intersection between gender roles, cultural identity and the border, the three most important themes to my own work. Her work depicts in striking and luminous images what I try to say in thousands of words. Please explore her beautiful work further, noticing the emotions, reactions and assumptions that come up for you as you learn more.

Her words, from her website, describe her work most elegantly:

As a young girl in Mexico, I learned at an early age about the double standard imposed on women and their sexuality. “Los hombres quieren a una dama en la mesa, y a una puta en la cama” (“Men want a lady at the table, and a whore in the bed”) is a statement I heard at fifteen, and it still lingers in my ears. For contemporary women, it is often difficult to reconcile the ubiquitous images of virgin and whore in our culture: clean vs. dirty. It is a fine line that becomes the point of demarcation for women to dance around. Through performance-based paintings, I explore territories that encompass these different types of boundaries and stereotypes: the physical, the emotional, and the psychological.

My first paintings in this body of work were of women dressed in Tango attire, performing cleaning activities or domestic chores in private and public spaces. As in Tango, the women duel with their partner — the environment. I attempt to use the body as a symbolic and measuring device for exploration that pushes and pulls the space to its limits, activating it until one feels it pushing back. This dance references the battle between media and predetermined gender notions and expectations, versus instinctual desires and self-empowerment.

My work investigates how women identify their strengths and sensuality in performing labor in which there is no visible economic or social value, and which is frequently considered “dirty.” I also subvert the typical overtly folkloric representations of Mexican women in paintings by changing my protagonist’s uniform to the quintessential little black dress. Wearing this symbol of American prosperity and femininity, the protagonist tangos through this intangible dilemma with her performances at the San Diego/Tijuana Border — a place I myself had to cross to study and live in the US. In these performances, I portrayed this multiplication of self and the Sisyphean task of cleaning the environment to accentuate the idea of disposable labor resources. Moreover, the black dress is transformed into a funerary symbol of luto, the Mexican tradition of wearing black for a year after a death.

In addition to highlighting ongoing socio-political conflicts, the works also underscore the intersection of everyday tasks and fantasy from both sides of the political/gender divide, illuminating the psychological walls that confine and divide genders in a domestic space.

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On “Literary Archaeology”

April 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

“The book’s sheer and belated existence, as well as the sometimes convoluted efforts to honor Rukeyser’s intentions, attests to a fundamental belief that this woman’s voice matters.”

Anna Clark’srecent article in Guernica magazine is a must-read. It is a must-read not only because it chronicles lost writings of women, but because it reminds us that our own voices matter. Do not stop writing, countless others silenced, marginalized, or categorized, compartmentalized, called witches for raping the State. Do not stop writing. 

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Stronger at the Broken Places

June 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

Have you ever come back to something you’ve written and it seems like it came from another person?

Then you re-read or listen to something that moved you before, and it still does, but in a different way.

I love the way we grow and change so readily, and yet at the same time we can feel we are the same person, in the same skin that walked 20 years ago down the same path.

I am the Sunshine & Luck girl, an 8 year old who signed her letters that way, and yet I am a different, broken and re-made person. I am, as Hemingway said in a Moveable Feast, “stronger at the broken places.”

Nobody climbs on skis now and almost everybody breaks their legs and maybe it is easier in the end to break your legs than to break your heart although they say that everything breaks now and that, sometimes, many are stronger at the broken places.

I think about this beautiful poem and about the broken places.

But if we are broken and re-made, are we also, sometimes, waiting to be released from some part of ourselves? A part not best broken, but perhaps left to remain in another time, and there only? Sing, Nina…

Just some thoughts for a rainy morning.

Something Necessary and Life-Giving

August 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

We can all use some words of inspiration, and maybe some perspective, here and there. As you’ll recall from my previous post about Brenda Ueland’s book, If You Want to Write, I promised to provide some of her words here, to encourage you in whatever creative (or non-creative, but passionate) pursuit you might be working on right now.  Here you go:

“There is something necessary and life-giving about “creative work” (forgive the term). A state of excitement. And it is like a faucet: Nothing comes out until you turn it on, and the more you turn it on, the more it comes.”

“We are all thoroughly materialistic about such things. ‘What’s the use?’ we say, of doing anything unless it makes money or gets applause? … Socrates and the Greeks decided that a man’s life should be devoted to ‘the tendance of the Soul’ and the Soul included intelligence, imagination, spirit, understanding and personality…”

“The mistake is to feel that the work, the effort, the search is not the important and exciting thing.”

Bienvenidos

July 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Welcome/Bienvenidos !

I would like to warmly welcome you to my blog. Here you will find the writings of me, Lourdes Acevedo, as well well as other interesting tidbits, roadmaps, eye candy and ephemera. Thank you for visiting, and I look forward to connecting with you.

Un Abrazo, Lourdes

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