Revolutionary in art and in love

It’s not hard to see why UCLA’s Cultural Affairs Commission and Queer Alliance asked Alma Lopez to showcase her art for their National Coming Out Week 2012-2013 programming. Alma Lopez is a visiting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and a queer Chicana artist.

Lopez’s Revolutionary Love solo exhibition was held in Kerckhoff Grand Salon from October 15 to October 27, 2012. Revolutionary Love evolves from her previous work as a digital artist. Lopez said, “This is actually the big coming out show for me as a painter.”

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In her previous work, her highly contested “Our Lady of Controversy” digital image, Lopez portrays La Virgen wearing roses under her robe. In Sirena in Love, one can see the image of La Virgin de Guadalupe and La Sirena embracing each other. Although the images were Lopez’s feminist perspective on the Virgin she grew up seeing in her home and community, they evoked a “violent reaction,” such as hate mail and threats from conservative religious groups and males. “I am not the first Chicana to reinterpret the image with a feminist perspective, and I’m positive I won’t be the last,” said Lopez.

Lopez’s exhibition also featured some of her older paintings. Some of the works shown included images of real Mexican female wrestlers, queer saints and double-tailed sirenas. Lopez explained that, “As an artist I am continually creating a visual vocabulary
[and] language.”

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Revolutionary Love incorporates Mexican figures portrayed through her perspective as a self-proclaimed radical Chicana, lesbian, and feminist. She includes her modern version of the revolutionary female Adelita, who was not confined to her gender role but rather was a soldadera who fought in the Mexican Revolution, dressed in jeans and chucks. Nowadays, Adelita signifies a woman of strength and courage.

Images of Coyolxauhqui, an Aztec moon goddess, are also included. Her mother, Coatlicue became pregnant when hummingbird feathers fell on her. Feeling dishonored, Coyoloxauhqui meant to kill her, but the child Huitzilopochtli in full armor killed her instead and threw her head into the sky where it became the moon. In her art, Lopez also includes a quote from Ernesto “Che” Guevara, an Argentine revolutionary leader who organized against the exploitation of Latin America by the United States:“The true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.”

Revolutionary Love, is not just an evolution of Lopez’s work but also a call to action for others to realize that times have changed the way society thinks love should be shared, and to literally evolve their definition of love just as Che Guevara’s quote suggests. The exhibition’s moderator and member of Queer Alliance said, “We wanted someone who is loud and proud of who they are.” Lopez’s art speaks for itself. She uses bright hues of every color of the rainbow.

 

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