18 x 44 inches
latex interior paint on vintage serape (Mexican blanket)
“Mestiza” explores and acknowledges my experience as a biracial Chicana through language and material. The mixed-raced Mexican identity category is one wrought in colonialism, with its origins tracing back to the Casta system implored by the Spanish with the intent of social control through a racial hierarchy. During the Mexican Revolution, both “mestiza” and the serape acted as mechanisms of Mexican nationalism that permeated the notion of a homogeneous “Mexican-identity” within Mexico. Now, the term “mestiza” acts as a remnant of a caste system that itself has migrated. The works within “Mestiza” address issues of legibility, text, identity, and histories made inaccessible by mainstream North American racism. Each serape acts as an embodiment of assimilation or mixture. Some are derogatory in nature, with their intent to cause affliction or induce a negative response, but it is within these words that I found a sense of place within the Latinx community. As a final act of protest, house paint is thrown onto the serapes, blurring the boundaries of subjectivity. It is a bridging of my whiteness—and the privilege that brings—with the acknowledgment of my Mexican ancestry. These words are identifiers in the Latinx community, and I am reclaiming them.
Item is located in Pontiac, MI. Local pickup available. Domestic shipping included. Delivery available within 60 miles of Cranbrook.
Kelly Tapìa-Chuning (b. 1997) is an interdisciplinary Chicana artist from southern Utah currently based in Detroit, MI. She received a BFA in Studio Arts from Southern Utah University. Tapìa-Chuning utilizes research, textile deconstruction, and needle-felting to examine the power dynamics attached to racial identity/culture, gender, and language. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, with group shows at GAVLAK (LA) and The Border Project Space (NY) and solo exhibitions at Red Arrow Gallery (TN) and Harsh Collective (NY). Her work has been featured in The Nashvillian, create! Magazine, All SHE Makes, Artsin Square, and Friend of The Artist. She was an artist-in-residence at Stove Works in Chattanooga, TN and her work is in collections at Onna House in East Hampton, NY and the Southern Utah Museum of Art. Tapìa-Chuning is currently pursuing her MFA in the Fiber Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art, where she was awarded a Gilbert Fellowship.