March 17, 2001



Dear Mr. Villegas,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me about your response to the current exhibition Cyber Arte at the New Mexico International Museum of Folk Art in Santa Fe, and specifically one of my images titled Our Lady.

"Our Lady" image is based on an essay titled "Guadalupe the Sex Goddess" by Sandra Cisneros in the book Goddess of the Americas/La Diosa de las Americas edited by Ana Castillo. I feel that the essay, as well as my image are attempts by Chicanas to find personal connections with this image that we grew up with.

I portray our lady as a strong Indigena/Chicana/Latina/Mexicana, and not as the young passive (head bowed with clasped hands) image that I grew up seeing in my home and in my community. The reason for this is because all the women I have known in my family and in community are very strong mujeres who struggle to nurture and provide for their families. I wanted to honor and respect their strength. And, I can only imagine that the mother of Jesus would be an incredibly strong mujer to raise and endure the pain of her son’s struggles.

I portray the angel carrying her on the half moon nude because men and women are beautiful children of our creator. Our bodies are beautiful. Among so much more, when I see women’s breasts I think of how beautiful they are… how my mother breast-fed me… and of nurturing… I can’t help but wonder what may be going through a person’s mind that thinks that breasts are not beautiful and nurturing, but something to be hidden.
My two friends who collaborated with me on this image are strong and beautiful women whom I respect and admire. Both are community activists and one teaches young people self esteem/culture through performance art.

The entire exhibition is beautiful. The curator, the exhibition designer, and the entire staff of the museum have done an amazing job of connecting traditional images with digital technology. At the reception and the panel discussion, I met many Nuevo Mexicanos who seemed to like the entire exhibition, including my work. Of course, not everyone will like my work and that’s alright.

Again thank you so much for taking the time to let me know that you saw the exhibition and your thoughts on my work.

Sincerely, Alma Lopez