Rad Los Angeles art piece image excavate childhood memory for many young Latinas.
See a photo of the piece here.
Last year, I attended a Mujeres de Maiz artist exhibit showcasing women of color artists, this painting took me back to when I was that child gazing at the calendar romanticizing the Aztec Warrior saving the voluptuous beautiful princess. This image decorated the new year calendar that the carniceria (butcher), local Latino market gave out during the holidays. It is a beautiful piece of art honoring indigenous history and Mexican culture. A badge of honor of sorts. It was free too, so it hung on the kitchen wall right by our table. For breakfast, lunch and/or dinner sometimes I looked up towards the image and I wanted to be that beautiful princess getting saved by the handsome strong warrior. Our home was not unique, many Latino families sported the free calendar in their walls. Consequently many young Latinas can easily identify this image, and the symbolism connoted. As an adult I’ve dissected that image of the princess saved by the Aztec, there’s a strong sexualization of their bodies, her voluptuous body, eyes closed, tender tilted face, emphasizes her looks while the Aztec warrior’s fit body accentuates his strength and conviction to save the princess. Feminism 101 ( or for me common sense 101) “female” socialization teaches that our looks are more important than our actions and that we are often times on earth to please heteronormative ideals, so when I stood in front of this image of the woman picking herself up, it brought a “hell yea” in me.
The image is called “Pick Yourself Up, Girl.”
As I dealt with a whirlwind of ups and downs the last couple of weeks, one late nigh walking the dog with an aching heart staring at the cemented sidewalk processing the day’s emotional exhaustion (heart hanging very low) with that image ingrained, I affirmed out loud, “pick yourself up girl.”
The UBUNTU philosophy, I am because we are, is resonating with me more and more lately and it cannot be truer in the journey of transformative healing. That night as I dealt with complex emotions garnering and searching for the tools at reach, that image, Alexis P. Gumbs’ “Wishful Thinking” poetry replaying over and over in my car earlier - the soothing words, the powerful image gave me the strength to reach within to not only get dragged down by the heavy load it became lighter. Their art work, infused life into the dreary terrain of pain. Their art work, helped me carry myself. Walking back home, with my head a little higher, the load lighter, and for that, I am eternally thankful.
and from noemi:
If love is a radical force, the work I do as an non-traditional teacher and storyteller are testimonies to this. Love is radical.