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Huipiles at the Museo Alameda: There is nothing to celebrate

So some young latinas asked me yesterday about the "Huipiles" at the Museo Alameda. They were confused about the Exhibit. The photo below is by a commercial artist, Liz Garza Williams, one of the artists in the Huipiles Exhibit, and this is her photo of the featured artist, Kathy Sosa, wife of Republican party advertising-mogul Lionel Sosa, who is also in the show. You know what this visual says to young latinas, who comprise the majority population in this region? This photo, indicative of the quality and imagery in this Huipiles exhibit, says "See how I own your past? Do you see how beautiful I am wearing what you don't even know about? You can't even afford your own history, because only a rich woman like me is good enough and beautiful enough to wear it."

Now the Museo Alameda has asked latina scholars to contribute to "panels," to discuss "huipiles." There is a documentary that accompanies the show where some huipil-dressed latinas are interviewed. Sandra Cisneros and Ellen Riojas Clark, Ph.D, contributed essays, and are also two of the women Kathy Sosa Frida Kahloized in her "Huipiles" paintings.

What will young women remember? The essays, the documentary?

Or this?

artistic credit: "Katarina, mi querida amiga, a portrait of Kathy Sosa," by Liz Garza Williams


Rwanda Project said…
desde califas - girl - you got me mouth open in shock - just when i thought our mexican-american middle class could no longer shock me. there is an incredible responsibility that goes with the privilege of speaking as artists. what is our relationship to our people - the people of this city? having our own museum should be a great thing - a celebration - but this is not our museum; it is not mine. and what of the incredible talent of chicano/a artists who can't get their work done/can't get work in san antonio because of mamadas like these? for speaking with all our fury and rage - gracias hocicona. thank you.
ChicanaMama21 said…
These images are so disturbing to me. Anyone who has read I, Rigoberta Menchu or seen her interview knows of the sacredness of the huipil, and of the indigenous people's desire that the huipil not be "displayed in museums." The huipil is also a visual text, and represents the narrative authority of the huipil-maker to "weave" her own herstory. As this exhibit demonstrates, these stories are being appropriated by the dominant culture to silence the voices of the subaltern. Looks like appropriating and capitalizing off of culture is a Sosa tradition.
ady said…
Hey guys! I found a very cool video about MUSEO ALAMEDA!

Take a look and enjoy!!! it is amazing!
Aida Coronado said…
Hello I just want to share with you, that in fact there are MEXICANS, that are sharing their TExtile culture throught the internet,FROM MEXICO
we DO know and appreciate what we have! and we do know the story and meaning of our clothes, we want to bring them to the present and not just "make beautiful things out of them!" we want to wear them with pride and honor and share them with a lovely world.
Linda said…
I know that as a 'white chick' I may not understand the frustrations felt about the museum but I very much enjoyed the exhibit of Huipiles. I have an interest in textiles and am a native Texan so I appreciated the information on a cultural treasure still being produced by my neighbors (your families) in Mexico. I think that the accompanying brochure did a lot to explain the extreme conditions under which they are made, the sadness under which some are sold and the pride of the women who can claim connection to the women there. I have no ethnic heritage to tap into and agree that it's not my place to usurp someone else's. But isn't it o.k. to enjoy the visual beauty of the show and learn at the same time. They used to call it Social Studies.

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