Revealing Boarderland Identities
This work critiques racial identity research and challenges standard racial constructs that have left out the experiences of multiracial and multi-ethnic individuals. I utilize arts-based inquiry and embed autohistoria (a Chicana feminist autobiographical storytelling method) and my artful actions (narratives and visual art) as a method of disrupting traditional social scientific research. The result is a counter narrative for the historically silenced experiences of multiracial/multi-ethnic individuals.
This research uses inquiry and storytelling transformatively as methods to re-imagine and rewrite personal and cultural stories by centering an insider’s knowledge of their experiences over predominant narratives. Through this process, a space for non-normative voices is created and a method for resisting and crossing restrictive identity labels and assumptions is modeled.
I fuse research with autobiographic visual artistic narratives to illustrate the refusal of binary thinking; the tearing apart of body and mind; and the separation of the academic with the aesthetic/literary/personal. My work reveals the complex experience of identifying as (Anglo) American, Mexican, Chicana, and multiethnic in the U.S.
This layered text braids together a theoretical discussion of identity, diaspora, and home, my lived experiences, and arts-based inquiry—I have sewn my living testimony.
I was born in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, yet I grew up in central Pennsylvania. Therefore, I have consistently journeyed back to my birthplace, examining my layered identity while traveling and exploring the span of my native land. These solo journeys, many at a young age, influenced me and my artwork.
My work expresses my vivencias (lived experiences) and the paradoxes of my identity as a multidisciplinary and multiethnic artist. My pieces investigate fluid identity negotiations, mestiza and hybrid consciousnesses, feminist aesthetics, and the Chicana art sensibility: Domesticana. My techniques often incorporate collage (layering discarded elements, collected specimens, photographs, and textures), echoing a woven and complex identity. Many of my pieces reference this braided identity using traditional women’s work such as sewing and working with fabric and decorative elements. This is a direct influenced by both of my grandmothers on both sides of the border. In this way, my work acts as sutures to the fractured experiences of women, Chicanas, and multiracial/multiethnic individuals; much like the healing qualities of Chicana feminists work. It is my intention that these intimate pieces narrate my vivencias through images, stories, and domestic tools and materials.