Delilah Montoya says that Chicana Badgirls: Las Hociconas is simply part of her desire to “demonstrate the history of Chicana artists.” A photographer, Montoya co-curated the show at 516 Arts with Laura E. Perez, a professor of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. They noted a legacy of several generations of artists that was largely unknown. “What I wanted to do,” Montoya says, “was bring in those women of the first generation and then the subsequent generations.” The result is a show that sees contemporary Chicana art as the latest permutation of a conversation that began with the civil rights and feminist movements.
Along with wall art and installations, Chicana Badgirls brings in fabric work. “Fabric is a large part of Chicana domesticity,” Montoya says. “[Sewing] was very much a part of how Latinas learned to be women.” As part of this focus, the opening reception will feature the work of fabric artist and clothing designer Elisa Jimenez (Season 4 of “Project Runway”). Models styled by Inspire Salon will catwalk through the gallery wearing Jimenez' creations, each of which will then be hung and sold, with a portion of the proceeds going to support 516 Arts.
When I ask Montoya how she sees Chicana art 15 years from now, she laughs and says, “Cyberspace.” Younger artists, such Tina Hernandez and Rosa Zamora, are using technology and the Internet as a lens through which to view the world and shape their expectations, resulting in work that asks different questions than that of two generations before. Montoya holds that “an artist takes in where they're at—time, place ... influences.” And so, the range of work in Chicana Badgirls is stunning.
“This is a show that had to happen,” Montoya says, and she thanks Suzanne Sbarge, executive director of 516 Arts, for hosting the exhibit. “Not everyone has a voice, and that's what this show wants to do. We can look at ourselves now.”
The opening reception for Chicana Badgirls will be held on Saturday, Jan. 17, from 6 to 8 p.m. and will feature corrido music and a fashion show. 516 Arts is located at 516 Central SW. For more info, call 242-1445 or go to 516arts.org.