My artwork poetically examines my Mexican-American identity through stereotypical and often ritualized actions and objects. Cultural identity is often determined or influenced by how recognizable and distinguishable different rituals are. In return, people of a cultural group identify with these expected rituals, and then this self-acknowledgment or recognition affirms and defines one’s cultural connection or social placement. One’s cultural connection becomes “authentic” when it matches up with the preconceived notions of what, for example, “Mexicans” do. (We wear huarache sandals, decorate our houses with religious talismans, play soccer well, ride around in cars blasting mariachi music, and have someone in the family who is a vendor).
The theme of rediscovering one’s culture is a very American one; immigrants throughout the country’s history have sought out the “familiar,” the cultures they leave behind, and so they integrate their cultural history into their American identity. As an artist, I own these stereotypes in an aggressively rebellious way but also give a nuance to these goods and portrayals by inserting myself in that position. With a lightness of hand I hint at a fragmented culture to deal with the diaspora, as many people do.