Accepted paper:

Mujeres de Maiz' Art(s) for social change


Lucia Rosati (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

“Mujeres de Maiz” is a contemporary artist and activist organization based in Los Angeles. Through Community Art(s) they try to empower historically oppressed groups. Their goals are to reclaim history, create positive images of themselves, and to provide a network for social and artistic exchange.

Paper long abstract:

"Mujeres de Maiz (MdM)" (Women of the Corn) is a contemporary Chicana artist and activist organization based in Los Angeles. Their mission is "to unite and empower women of all ages, colors, and sexualities by creating safe community spaces that provide education, mentorship, art, exhibition and publishing opportunities."

In this paper I'm going to demonstrate how MdM evolved from the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, the Chicana Feminist Movement and the artistic practices that have accompanied these movements since their inception in the 1960s/70s. MdM incorporated their emphasis on Mexican cultural heritage and a praxis based on the multifaceted dimensions of Chicanas' experiences. These experiences are connected to colonialism, violence, discrimination, struggles over human rights, citizenship, linguistic rights etc. This paper discusses how these experiences have led to the development of a strong community coherence and commitment reflected in MdM's work.

According to Community Art(s) approaches MdM create art that addresses to a specific community, mainly Women who identify as Chicanas, Women of Color or LGBTQ and is not intended to be exposed in galleries or museums. Their art is directed to people who reside in areas of deprivation and in addition to its aesthetic value is meant to effect a social change. This paper argues that a Chicana aesthetic space expresses the concern for social, global, and environmental justice engaging in the processes of recovery and transformation. MdM through their decolonizing practices create an oppositional voice and space giving alternative perspectives on historic and contemporary lives of Chicanas.

panel P087
Collective imaginations and collaborative art practice