LatinaLista -- Juarez may literally be under siege these days by drug cartels that would like to stifle any kind of expression, whether it be from the people, the news media or the artists.
One Juarez artist, Gilda Lorena Martínez, refuses to cease expressing herself the best way she knows how, though in the last two years it's been a struggle. Over the last 24 months, she's seen close friends die, was assaulted, got seriously ill and lost most of her business as an art teacher because people are fleeing the city.
In a rather defiant gesture towards what is happening in Juarez, Martínez, a world-recognized artist, is hosting a 15-piece art exhibit in Juarez at the Museo de Arqueologia del Chamizal.
The exhibit opens today, Feb. 17, and continues through March 13. The showing is entitled "Ciudad de Arena y Sangre" (City of Sand and Blood). The exhibit is the culmination of two years of working on a series of paintings responding as an artist and a Juarense to the city's security and economic crises.
In a short Q&A with Latina Lista (LL), Martinez explains how what is happening in Juarez affects her as an artist, a Mexican citizen and a mother.
LL: How does what is happening in Juarez impact your style of painting? Your choice of colors? Your decision to depict a particular scene?
GLM: My line and language are recognizable for those who know my work, but this series shows a radical change. I used to look within (for inspiration) and my work generally showed a woman, in her most aesthetic form and in her different social roles, as the central figure.
Now worn-out characters have entered my work and they're shown in scenes that range from hell to funerals. Music surfaces from darkness, bad guys reveal their rites, neighbors fearfully peek their heads out, spirits fight for heaven and hell and show their worst aspects, and of course death makes several appearances.
My palette changes from warm, earthy and harmonious tones to cold, gray and dark colors, although red often splashes the canvas.