by Pico del Hierro-Villa

Exhibition Statement

“My series of Guadalupe photographs and work comes from my desire to deconstruct the idea of Marianismo. Marianismo is created through the lens of La Virgin de Guadalupe representing the ideal woman who follows virtues of ideal femininity and roles of a woman. The idea of Queerness within the Latinx culture, marimacha-ism (lesbianism) /maricon-ism (faggotry) in my arts case, breaks the idea of the cultural familial framework. Tied to the church, the woman, often associated with the role of La Virgin de Guadalupe, confines herself to any desire and goes down a path of marriage and servitude. Marimacha-ism skews the whole proces of marianismo that induces the compartmentalization of placing Latina women in a secular box of sainthood that the Catholic religion has created. For years Queer/Trans Chicanx and Chicana’s stories and histories have been told through the lens of male and heteronormative dominant perspectives. These actions create false narratives inducing the harm we already face as colonized peoples. With Chicanas, we can see this through the work of the church creating misogynistic perspective of Malinche’s story. Chicana Feminists have created a counter method, displaying actions of “Oppositional Consciousness”, a term created by Chela Sandavol which forms counter-narratives and perspectives. Oppositional Consciousness has then been molded to fit the works of Chicana Feminists that have been mapping the paths towards taking back our own stories while highlighting the importance of deconstructing hegemonic ideologies through literature and art. Throughout Mexican history women have accompanied tales that represent the ability and description of femmes in Latinx culture.

From La Virgin to La Malinche, these iconographies have set the tone of how women are consumed through a lens of respect or how one is shamed and pushed down a path of putahood. My biggest inspiration in this series has been Alma Lopez’s work on her reconstruction of La Virgen de Guadalupe.Lopez’s representation of La Virgin tells the story of conquest and its impact on women. The claiming of the Chicana body and the determination of her functionality is a byproduct of colonialism. Women’s autonomy in Chicano culture is a concept that has deep roots in how colonizers have asserted their superiority through the Catholic religion. The first femme who fell victim to andro-centric and colonial violence was the mother goddess Coatlicue Tonantzin, the indigenous La Virgin de Guadalupe. In 1513, a colonized Indigenous man, whose Spanish name was Juan Diego, saw a woman appear on the hill of Tepeyac. Before the Spanish conquest, Tepeyac was a site for ancient pilgrimages where several earth deities, including Tonantzin, resided. The woman that Juan Diego saw became known as La Virgin de Guadalupe. Originally having dark skin and Indigenous features, La Virgin’s image was transformed into having olive skin and black hair with a humble gesture that reflected the churches image of the native population the Spanish sought to control. La Virgin has then become a cultural iconography that represents a duality of pureness as opposed to Malinche. This secular response to women’s actions has created a binary of both good and evil, two constraining paths that only allow women to seek motherhood or a life of adultery and sin. A duality is created of appropriate functions that are linked to La Virgin de Guadalupe and non-appropriate functions that are linked to Malinche. This particular action has constrained the way Chicano/Mexican culture and values can allow women and femmes to flourish and work outside of these binaries that function only to create submissive roles. Chicanas have long struggled with the identification through these two, La Virgin and Malinche, cultural iconographies because it destined their paths, pressuring and leaving them with no ability to seek beyond the virgin and whore narratives.” -Pico del Hierro-Villa

Pico del Hierro-Villa is originally from El Paso, TX and is currently based in Albuquerque, NM where they received their M.A. in Chicanx Studies. Influenced by Chicana Feminist theory and art, they interpret Chicana Feminists’ critical approaches into creating a visual storytelling method that is based on resistance through breaking social borders. Chicana Feminists’ oppositional work, meant to uplift overlooked narratives and communities, led them to create their artistic method to represent stories of Queer and Trans Latinx communities in the SW through visual narratives. They believe in providing intellectually accessible information with their photographs and work that is critical to building solidarity and awareness for Queer and Trans communities of color, specifically Mexicans/Chicanxs. Another method of their work focuses on deconstructing and queering Mexican cultural iconographies through different mediums of art. Pico is also an independent curator and academic that focuses Borderlands and Latinx visual arts through their project BorderPlex and other curatorial/written works. Instagram: @mariconcha_   | Website:

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