In this art investigation titled “Barricade”, I use a material known for its strength and endurance. Valuable in it’s utilitarian use but invisible to society. A material identified in our culture as so non-existent that we use it to cover places under-developed, hide establishments under-construction or anything that doesn’t need to be seen. We are so accustomed to ignoring this valuable fabric that we no longer pay attention to its contribution to society. This material is used in my work as a symbol for the laborer, the immigrant, the unseen.
The physicality of working with this material for the purpose of creating a personal use includes repetition, measuring, making patterns, cutting and ironing reminds me of my mother: her friends, laborers, immigrants working in illegal garment factories in the Los Angeles area in 70’s, 80’s, 90’s well into the new millennium today. It brings back recurring personal experiences growing up in this country working in different types of jobs/labor, maneuvering through different class systems in the work-force (legal & illegal). Traditional systems & power structures that place individuals of ethnic origins (or of ethnic descent) in the position of the submissive, exploited and being kept hidden. Old colonial systems which keep individuals restricted and bound in roles created by the American gaze: person of color, immigrant and second class citizen.
In “Barricade”, a visual representation made up of small individual pieces manage to fit in with one another and build itself into a larger composition finding its own harmony and creating a safe space, a sanctuary.