Visual Arts Series
15 imagesLa Cena (Supper), in all cultures is a time to gather, a time to connect, a time to reflect, and a time to nourish. La Cena opens up the conversation, and solves the problems of the world while getting lost in the joy of family and the pleasures of taste. This project comes as a result from mega-pervasive visuals that inundate our subconscious by the mass media. More often we are represented in negative visuals. The US celebrates National Hispanic/Latinx month from September 15 - October 15 to appease shallow guilt and continue to claim we are being inclusive. But are we? The term Hispanic refers to the mother tongue of the colonizer, Spain. The term does not fit well with the Mexica community, the indigenous people of this land we live in; as it is a label placed upon them by Western society. Some have questioned my authenticity because my family does not look like the prescribed brown family, I have been “othered.” The question of what my Latina family looks like led me to create this visual series of the pronounced and ranging diversity within the Latines and Mexica global community. These portraits are not your classical Americana, not your Norman Rockwell-esque images. They are not a romanticization of “The Last Supper“ but the collaboration and self-identification of modern Mexica and Latines families attempting to live the American dream. Along the way, I was struck by the wide range of self-identification and the lack of inclusivity using the genderizing terms Latino or Latina. More recently, LatinX is a well-intentioned compromise but the scientific connotations are still not sitting well with me. We are not a scientific experiment of a modern Louis Agassiz ideal. Agassiz used photography to support a theory of polygenism. The pseudoscientific theory that the human races belong to different species; X is there but what about Y? Latines is plural and truly gender non-bias; it is a counter image to the prescribed brown labels; it is considering and including the poly-dynamic meaning of family, tradition and cultural preservation. One box does not fit all and the label LatinX amended to our culture is an attempt at confining our ethnicity to a neatly packaged term. The Latines gaze is Mestizaje (of mixed cultural and ethnic heritage) taking back the burden of representation. It is the freedom to define and refine our narrative of diversidad within the layers of Mestizaje seen here in the canon of fine-art photography. This collaboration with families carries on the conversation of diversity, introducing a new way of seeing the mosaic of a modern America through the lens of Mexica, Latines. These are very different visuals from the one represented in 1993 Time magazine of a computer-generated photo of a multiracial human being of the future. With this series, I celebrate the depth and breadth of our Mexica and Latines heritage and Cultura.