“Sangre Por Sangre” is a thesis exhibition that explores my personal connection to my Chicano heritage through the usage of symbols, stories, and imagery from Mexican folklore and mythos. The show encapsulates my thoughts, feelings, and imagination at work when dealing with the memories I had as a child in Southern California. Growing up and hearing the legends of “El Cucuy” and “La Llorona,” alongside with stories about the Bible not only shaped the way I portrayed the world, but they also developed my curiosity of the supernatural and the idea that something odd/unnerving could also be very beautiful.
Just as I have become displaced from my original home of Ontario, California (which is demographically 70% Mexican-American) to the East Coast, my figures too have become “wanderers” in a new setting and time. These wanderers are travelers without the bounds of location, which allows them to transcend the European influenced landscape. The wandering stories then come together to create an ephemeral/collapsed narrative, as there is no defined story line with a beginning and end; instead, the images create stills of a much larger story at work. The subject matter of the show is laced with imagery from biblical, historical, and mythological stories in order to create a new surreal space for these non-linear narratives to exist.
The narratives that exist in my body of work are rich with history and are laced with symbolism, which is similar to the way Chicano muralists painted their narratives during the 1960’s Chicano movement. Stories that I was told as a child, like the story of “El Cucuy,” a shape-shifting monster who eats children who do not behave and listen to their parents, is a story that I have never seen in the American mainstream canon. I then use this story as an extension of my identity, as to be Mexican means that one knows of “El Cucuy.” From this, I then create my own interpretation of the mythos and update it through the usage of costume, performance, and location. By utilizing Mexican folklore and superstition, the work is able to expose non-Mexican people to the stories that are traditionally told in Chicano households, which then functions as a way to clear up a history that was erased during the 19th century colonization of Mexico.