Culture

This Queer Colombian Muralist Is Changing The World One Wall At A Time

@jessicasabogal / Instagram

Jessica Sabogal is a Colombian muralist adding her unique beauty to walls from the Bay Area to Canada to nationally distributed posters. Sabogal begins each project by researching the neighborhood her work will be showcased. Then, she decides what la gente need to see to disrupt their daily lives. Her work has commemorated trans lives lost, showcased queer women taking up space, and exalted immigrants as “greatness.”

Primero, meet Jessica Sabogal.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

Sabogal was born and raised in San Francisco, born to Colombian immigrants who narrowly escaped Pablo Escobar’s pervasive violence and terror in their community. They came for education and they gave their daughter a college education.

Sabogal graduated from UC San Diego in 2009.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

She became politically active during her undergraduate career and majored in Political Science. By the time she graduated, however, she couldn’t imagine putting on a suit and tie and working in politics. So she put on a gas mask and got some spray paint instead.

 Sabogal started with stencil spray painting.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

She wanted to make political statements on a larger scale, and, shockingly, the mere mirroring of Latinx culture is a political statement. Soon, her stencil art started to go viral.

This image of Chicana writer and theorist, Cherríe Moraga, is one of her first viral works.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

Since then, she’s started the “Women are Perfect” campaign, which depicted different portraits of her feminist icons. Some critics have claimed that this campaign sets an impossible standard for women, and that women don’t have to be perfect.

Sabogal’s message is that women already possess perfection, without having to try.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

She aims to portray real women in her lives. Indigenous women from her homeland in Colombia. Her intern. Her neighbors, educators and other activists in the community. These women make up “Women are Perfect.”

Soon, she started being commissioned to paint entire walls.

CREDIT: @Buzzfeed / Twitter

She’s making sure that White America can see Brown and Black America. That White America doesn’t forget their privilege, and the power that comes with it to dismantle white supremacy.

Sabogal’s art is la lucha against gentrification.

CREDIT: @Buzzfeed / Twitter

This mural went up in Salt Lake City as part of the city’s mural project. In an interview with Slug Magazine, Sabogal explained her goal for this specific work of art:

“My work always has two intentions. If you see it and you get it, it’s for you. I hope it’s validating and grounding for you. For the folks that feel anything else, if they feel uncomfortable or [question] why it’s in Spanish, or don’t immediately understand its importance, it’s for [them] too. My goal is to make you curious about your apprehension to the work, to sit in it and have the uncomfortable conversations about it.

Sabogal has continued her family’s legacy of prioritizing education first.

CREDIT: @Buzzfeed / Twitter

Her work has moved her parents. Her mother, Regina Otero-Sabogal has described Jessica as someone who doesn’t ever give up, and it shows.

She has committed herself to raising awareness and combatting violence against the trans community.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

Chyna Gibson was a black trans woman murdered in Sacramento earlier this year.

Caption: “The death of Chyna Gibson, the death of Stephon Clark, the deaths of the countless names we hear every day on the news, were not isolated incidents. As the artists responsible for memorializing Chyna Gibson’s legacy, we could not do so without pushing the viewer to draw connections to broader structural issues of oppression and violence. We can not talk about racism without taking about whiteness. We can not talk about Black lives matter without talking about Black Trans Lives. We can not look at problems at the individual level when they affect our families and communities as a whole. So we urge you that stand here today, to ask yourselves the question, what will you do to protect our trans community?”

Her campaign has garnered the attention of powerhouses like Laverne Cox.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

Because women are perfect, and Jessica Sabogal is one of them. She’s currently actively seeking queer, trans, women of color in the Bay Area for her next project. If that’s you, slide into her DM’s, it’s all welcome.

Showcasing lesbians and queer folks has proven controversial.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

The above mural was created in Montreal during the annual Decolonizing Street Art Convergence, and critics have spoken out about it. In an interview with Xpress Magazine, Sabogal said, “Why is it a big deal for me to produce a big lesbian mural in Canada? I am discovering it is a big deal because it is still not being talked about.”

Though she has received wide, positive reception, even commissioning the walls of Facebook headquarters.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

“Muralism for me is the beginning of a creation of my own political system—my own way of bringing about the most change I possibly can,” she told Slug Magazine. “In a way, they are small “advertisements” created in the name of my own people instead of trying to target us to buy something. They bring validation instead of trying to take something from us.”

Her murals say what we all want to, and it cannot be ignored.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

Sabogal makes a huge effort to put indigenous people at the center of her work. No white person can argue with that statement, and it’s too true for so many in our community.

Her murals have been so powerful that some people have defaced the work.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

Sabogal, joined with Tatyana Fazlalizadeh and Melinda James, together called When Women Disrupt, traveled the country creating murals on college campuses. This one was defaced in Los Angeles, at USC. It was restored.

“I will not mourn the decline of whiteness in my America.”

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

“Liberation is not white,” “White supremacy is killing me,” “America is Black,” and other statements have captured the attention of so many, and of course given some white folks some strong opinions.

When Women Rebel have defended their work.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

On its website, the feminist collective wrote, “By confronting communities in the public space with art that uplifts the voices and sacredness of people whom history has often rendered invisible and less than human, WWD’s intention is to provoke greater discussion and thinking about the institutionalized and everyday systems of power and representation that reinforce racism, patriarchy, and inequity.”

In a medium that is male dominated, just by creating her work, Sabogal is breaking glass ceilings.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

You might have recognized much of her work as part of Shepard Fairley’s “We The People” Public Art Campaign. I’m shocked if you haven’t screenshotted any of these images to your IG story.

You can buy her prints on her website.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

JessicaSabogal.com is home to all of her work, in highest resolution, along with a shop of her available work. Want to support a queer Colombiana while making your home modern and welcoming AF? Here’s you chance.

And bring your truth to life all around you.

CREDIT: @Buzzfeed / Twitter

Here we are, in all our glory. Her latest campaign is called “Our Existence Will No Longer Be Silenced.” It goes onto say that “we require no explanations, apologies, or approvals.”

Whatever you do, follow her work.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

You can follower her on Instagram @jessicasabogal, support her artistry at JessicaSabogal.com or just go right ahead and add her work to your IG story already. She lifts us all up. Vamos a dar lo mismo.


READ: You’re About To Want All Boricua Elizabeth Barreto’s Illustrations Tattooed On Your Body

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

An Artist In Indiana Is Drawing Iconic Singers And Actors As Aztec Characters And It Is Amazing

Entertainment

An Artist In Indiana Is Drawing Iconic Singers And Actors As Aztec Characters And It Is Amazing

qetzaart / Instagram

For the last few years, Jorge Garza has been making a name for himself in the world of art with his Aztec-inspired drawings infused with pop culture figures. Garza’s Instagram page is a showcase of his unique work that includes illustrations of Latin figures like the Chapulín and luchador fighters. He goes by the artist name Quetza as a nod to his Aztec work that he’s heavily influenced by. 

Whether its the graphics, colors, and finishes in his work, Garza’s work is a testament to his knowledge and passion for Aztec art. His work showcases many sharp details and takes a classic process, from pencil sketches to digitization. While his style is varied in some ways from original Aztec style work he still includes details like the use of skulls, snakes, and details of Mexican culture. Garza also has his own online store where he showcases and sells many of his own original designs. Currently, he is working on an art book that will be focusing on his passion of Aztec/Pop Culture. 

While the Northwest Indiana artist has been around for quite some time, he might have gotten his biggest moment yet as his drawing of the “Queen of Tejano” got quite the attention online. Within hours of posting his “Aztec Selena” illustration on Facebook, the image was met with overwhelming attention from fans and strangers alike.  

Anytime you can pay tribute to the queen Selena you’re going to get love on social media.

Credit: qetzaart / Instagram

His Selena artwork was quickly shared and spread across social media with many in return getting to look at Garza’s overall portfolio of work. Upon first posting the sketch on Facebook Wednesday, Garza had no clue that it would receive more than 5,000 shares and well over 3,000 likes.

“I love Aztec artwork and its been a big influence in my work,” Garza told My San Antonio. “I respect Selena and the influence she has had on Mexican-American culture so I uploaded it … and I did not expect the feedback I had. It’s overwhelming.”

He says his viral drawing is a testament to the love and adoration that Selena fans still have even after all these years after her passing. Garza had planned to draw this specific piece for years and felt like now was the perfect time to put together this tribute to the “Como la Flor” singer. 

His collection of Aztec-inspired illustrations come from a special place in Garza’s heart. He grew up with a love for Mexican pre-Hispanic art that he learned about at a young age.

Credit: qetzaart / Instagram

As a young boy living in Indiana, Garza learned about Aztec culture and the complexity of the civilizations during that time period. But it was the artwork during that time that truly inspired him to become an artist. Since then, Garza has devoted himself to learning more about Aztec graphics and culture. 

While he gets inspiration from Aztec history, Garza has also thrown in a bit of his personal for pop culture into his artwork. Whether that’s including characters from X-Men, Batman, Marvel or Transformers, it’s his way of staying true to himself all while paying tribute to the past. 

Besides just illustrations, Garza has shown his versatility as an artist when he previously released a horror comic called Wrath of the Giver. He’s also put out a compilation book of Aztec art and pop culture with some of his best work so far. 

Fans of his work took to social media to share their appreciation for Garza’s latest illustration. 

Credit: @nate_sdsu / Twitter

Garza has proven to be an artistic inspiration to some on social media who are praising him for his work and his tribute to Latin art. There is a growing market for pop culture-inspired work like Garza’s all over the internet and with his latest piece blowing up we’re sure this isn’t the last time we see one of his pieces circulating on social media. 

For fans of Garza’s work, he’ll be at the Big Texas Comicon at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center from Sept. 20-22. 

READ: 5 Years After They Went Missing, The Case Of The 43 Missing Ayotzinapa Students Is Nowhere Near Answered

A New Exhibition Will Unveil The Rocky Relationship Between Frida Kahlo And Diego Rivera

Entertainment

A New Exhibition Will Unveil The Rocky Relationship Between Frida Kahlo And Diego Rivera

An exhibition on the esteemed Mexican artists, lovers, and icons Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera is coming to North Carolina. On October 26, the North Carolina Museum of Art will open the Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection. The anticipated exhibition will include paintings, drawings, photography and film that aims to capture the 20th century artists’ bodies of work as well as their friendships and conflicts with political figures and their own impassioned and tumultuous personal relationships.

“Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection will emphasize a remarkable chapter in art history that is at once Mexican and global,” museum director Valerie Hillings told the ArtfixDaily, a publication covering curated art news.

Today, their tempestuous relationship is as famous as some of the artists’ most popular works. 

fridakahlo / Instagram

Kahlo and Rivera met in June 1928 at a party thrown by photographer Tina Modotti. At the time, a young, bold Kahlo asked Rivera to look at her paintings to see if he thought that she had enough talent to succeed. Rivera, impressed by her work, later spoke about that encounter, saying, “It was obvious to me that this girl was an authentic artist.” The pair soon started a relationship, though Rivera was 20 years older than Kahlo and already had two common-law wives. It was the start to a messy, atypical romance.

Marrying at a civil ceremony at the town hall of Coyoacán in 1929, despite the disapproval of Kahlo’s mother, their marriage included immense heartbreak. 

fridakahlo / Instagram

Over the years, the couple experienced and fought over everything from failed abortions and miscarriages to ailing physical health, to extra-marital affairs, including same-gender relationships from the gender-bending Kahlo. In 1939, the couple even divorced, only to remarry a year later with little change in their passionate yet rocky affair. Aside from the infidelity, rage, and distress that brewed in their personal relationship, the pair was often also at odds with political leaders as well. As communists, the revolutionary nature of Rivera’s murals, as well as Kahlo’s self-portraits and party affiliations, often put them at odds with political and religious leaders.

“Diego Rivera’s personality, politics, and monumental, social realist murals made him a celebrity during his lifetime. While he once overshadowed his equally talented wife, Frida Kahlo’s fame has far outstripped her husband’s in the years since her death,” Hillings added.

The pieces presented at the exhibition come from the long-time collection of Jacques and Natasha Gelman. According to ArtfixDaily, the Gelmans became Mexican citizens in 1942 and at the time started amassing Mexican art. Their collection includes Mexican modernists, like Kahlo and Rivera, who became friends with the Gelmans, as well as their compatriots Rufino Tamayo, David Alfaro Siqueiros and more. 

The exhibition was organized by the Vergel Foundation and MondoMostre in collaboration with the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura (INBAL). It is a joint project between the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions. It includes research from the Ann and Jim Goodnight/The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fund for Curatorial and Conservation Research and Travel.

The North Carolina Museum of Art is presenting the exhibition alongside the Luces y Sombras: Images of Mexico | Photographs from the Bank of America Collection. 

Together, the fall exhibitions “celebrate these artists’ culture of origin as well as the diverse sources of influence they drew upon in creating their distinctive oeuvres,” Hillings said.

While the museum is commemorating the famed Mexican couple, not everyone is excited about the pair’s legacy. The fall exhibition comes weeks after the new U.S. ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau criticized Kahlo for her support of Marxism, stirring controversy on social media. The ambassador, who was appointed by President Donald Trump and sworn in last month, took to Twitter last week after visiting the late Kahlo’s home, La Casa Azul, in Mexico City.

“I admire her free and bohemian spirit, and she rightly became an icon of Mexico around the whole world. What I do not understand is her obvious passion for Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism. Didn’t she know about the horrors committed in the name of that ideology?” he wrote in Spanish. 

His comments immediately drew backlash from thousands of people.

fridakahlo / Instagram

Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection runs at the North Carolina Museum of Art through January 19, 2020. To recognize the native language and cultural heritage of the artists in the exhibition, gallery information will be provided in both English and Spanish.

Tickets are already available for members but will be sold to nonmembers starting on September 17. 

Read: US Ambassador Insults Mexican Icon Frida Kahlo And Mexicans Clapped Back