Please visit the Fall 2012 class website project at Queer Arts Los Angeles Website.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Coming Out at Kerckhoff Hall

I want to celebrate National Coming Out Week by examining the work of my professor, Alma Lopez, an artist based in South LA. After observing her work in Kerckhoff Hall's art gallery I took note of many pieces that drew me in. Two in particular appealed to me personally:

Upon looking at this first piece, I was immediately filled with a sense of nostalgia. For me, the most striking element of this piece is the woman's face. I have seen variations of this face countless times before while I was growing up. My father used to take me to a place called Placita Olvera close to Downtown LA and we would spend a lot of time there. When we would walk through the bazaars I would see this face in prints, calendars, and artwork that vendors displayed and patiently waited to sell. The places where I encountered this face so frequently made it a definitive icon of Chicano culture in my eyes.

This second piece immediately reminded of Professor Lopez because of her personal connection to the Viceroy butterfly. I remember her interpretation of the horizontal line running across both of its bottom wings.  It's almost identical to the Monarch butterfly, but that single discrepancy could be a representation of something queer. I replayed this thought in my mind for a while before forming a connection of my own. Even though it's queer, it remains a butterfly with the capacity to do what any other butterfly can. Similar to how I view myself, my queer identity is a substantial part of me, but this doesn't affect my capacity to relate to the experiences of any other human being.

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