Satyr, 1994, Alessandra Moctezuma
The word “intersectionality” has been popping up a lot lately, especially in the context of feminism. The political landscape has given progressive women a lot to push back against and intersectionality—that is, the concept that oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, classism, etc.) are interconnected and should be examined as one—provides a means to combat these forces all at once.
However, this concept of not-just-this-but-also-that is clearly on display at the recently opened Ni Solo Mujeres: Intersecting Chicana Identities, a group exhibition of ten Chicana artists at the Southwestern College Art Gallery. Translated as “Not Just Women,” the new exhibition is being held in honor of International Women’s Day and in conjunction with Shoulders to Stand On: Remembering the Chicana Activist Narrative, a traveling exhibition produced by and shown at the Women’s Museum of California in 2016.
Leticia Gomez Franco, who curated both exhibitions, says that while Shoulders attempted to look at the history and impact of the Chicana movement, Ni Solo Mujeres takes a more modern look via the art that is being produced today.
“I always felt like there was a more contemporary voice missing from [Shoulders],” Gomez Franco says. “So when Perry [Vasquez] over at Southwestern College suggested bringing that show over to Southwestern College, he said we should add an art component. That was the perfect opportunity to kind of bring the historical context that we were already laying out in Shoulders to Stand On and bring it to what it means to be Chicana today.”
The exhibition, which runs through April 6, features regional artists not only from San Diego, but artists from L.A., Oakland, San Francisco and Mexico as well. San Francisco-based painter Yolanda Lopez, who was a pioneer in the Chicana movement in San Diego in the ‘70s, will have works on display dealing in themes of gentrification. Local artists Berenice Badillo and Patricia Aguayo are probably best known for their Chicano Park murals, while Tijuana street artist PANCA will have some of her pop-surrealism-inspired work on display. Curator and artist Alessandra Moctezuma will have pieces on display that she made in the ‘90s
“I still question all of this especially now with the politics and what’s happening,” says Moctezuma when asked how her work still fits into a larger narrative of an ongoing struggle. “As a woman, an immigrant and a Latina, you’re questioning all the things that are happening today. You know that having a voice and being empowered by your ideas, and then presenting those ideas, can also have meaning for others.”