Santa Fe New Mexican
Work not meant to offend, L.A. artist says
By:Anne Constable/The New Mexican
March 24, 2001
Alma Lopez is a Los Angeles visual and public
artist. She grew up in northeast Los Angeles in a community named El Serreno.
She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Santa
Barbara in 1988 and a master's degree in fine arts from the University of
California at Irvine in 1996. She has produced murals and digital murals in
collaboration with artists and community members in California, Nevada, Texas
Lopez is director and co-founder of Homegirl
Productions, a public and visual-art collaborative that focuses on African
American and Hispanic experiences. She's also a co-founding member of L.A.
Coyotes, a Chicana-artists collective and co-founding member of Tongues, which
she described on her Web site as a brown and black queer Webzine.
Our Lady, a digital photograph of the Virgin
of Guadalupe dressed in a floral bikini, is part of a series of prints called
Lupe & Sirena. In another image titled Encuentro, López depicts
the virgin joining hands with a mermaid. In a third, the mermaid is being
embraced by the virgin while a small boy in the foreground holds a lighted
After Our Lady was featured on a Sunday-morning
television program in Los Angeles, Lopez received an e-mail charging, "Your
painting has attacked THE MOTHER OF THE AMERICAS.Would you have painted your
own mother this way? This is OUR MOTHER."
López replied, "The work I do comes
from my heart and is not meant to disrespect nor offend. I have a relationship
with the Virgen of Guadalupe since I was born in Mexico, baptized Catholic
and grew up in East L.A. with the Virgen in my home and community."
"I am blessed with an artistic talent and
do not apologize for my work, nor my creativity." she added. Lopez has
also produced a series on land, border migrations, the Treaty of Guadalupe
Hidalgo and Mexican Americans in the United States.
Our Lady is also the cover art for a book published
by the University of Arizona titled Puro Teatro: A Latina Anthology. Lopez
has won numerous awards including a 1997 Design Excellence in Public Art award
from Los Angeles cultural-affairs department for a digital-mural project and
a 1998 individual artist grant from the city of Los Angeles.
Her art work is online at home.earthlink.net/almalopez.
Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2001 Santa Fe New Mexican