Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
The word Nepantla is from the Mesoamerican Nahuatl language and is used by theorist Gloria Anzaldúa to describe a space of mixed, and borderland identity. Nepantla: the space in-between creates a physical manifestation of my experience as a mixed Latina woman raised in American suburban culture. This series is made up of ceramic objects on wall-mounted altars made of wood panels adorned with wallpaper and paint. The surfaces utilize visual references and color schemes from 90s girls’ bedrooms and Mexican pop-culture. Ceramic bones and cacti mounted onto the altar forms are all made through molded ceramic processes, which for me hold a ritualistic resonance. The surfaces of the ceramic bones and cacti are glazed, painted, lustered, and gold leafed to reference a constellation of experiences in my mixed, Mexican American household.
Nepantla: the space in-between, centralizes a need to hold on to parts of one’s histories, lineage, and traditions, but also to think critically about the impact those histories hold. For me this work is a process of looking at these ideas of my familial lineage, mestiza identity, my own body and how I was taught to view it in religious spaces, and the icons and religiosity so engrained in my familial experience and culture. In this work I use conventions and mechanisms of the religious, the icon, and kitsch to both elevate and critique these ideas and communities I am working through and trying to be a part of. I make these altars as a subversive act. This act of using religious language and visual cues is healing for me: I reclaim things stripped away or never allowed.
Shamard, Samantha, "Nepantla: the space in-between" (2022). All Theses. 3933.