foto: Pintoras Mexicanas Facebook group
Esta pintura de Laura Gómez fue incluida en la primera exhibición del grupo Pintoras Mexicanas en Chihuahua, México. El grupo está planeando su próxima exhibición en la Ciudad de México en el 2013.
This Laura Gomez painting was included in the Pintoras Mexicanas group’s first art exhibition in Chihuahua, Mexico. The group plans to exhibit in Mexico City in 2013.
Alma Dominguez never imagined that a Facebook page she created in 2011 for Pintoras Mexicanas would grow into a celebrated coalition of artists with a common goal.
Now, the Chicago-based group, Pintoras Mexicanas — including Dominguez, Carmina Cortes, Lucia Herrera, Laura Gomez, Karina Gomez and Karla Guzman — have made a name for themselves, connected not just by social media anymore but by their desire to preserve their native Mexican culture as first-generation Americans.
“We live this dual life because we have to be good enough for the American and we have to be good enough for the Mexican,” Cortes said. “You deal with that a lot, and that’s what I deal with in my art.”
Though they all work in different art media, the idea is the same: to share personal stories through art, Herrera said.
And they’re not only united by their stories of struggling as Mexican-Americans, but also as women.
“In general, the artists that are famous are men — Miguel Angel, Diego Rivera, Orozco, Tamayo,” said Laura Gomez.
And being female artists, Cortes said, is what makes the group stand out.
“The name itself is powerful … Never in the history of art has there been a group of women painters,” she said. “There has never been a group like this, united with so many talented women in one place, supporting each other.”
The Chicago women first exhibited together at a Lila Downs concert in March at the Congress Theater in Chicago. Along with other women from the Facebook group, they also exhibited that month in Chihuahua, Mexico, as a collective group with more than 40 artists from countries around the world, including France, Italy and Canada.
“It’s incredible what we’ve been able to do,” Dominguez said.
The group has since done a variety of shows including one at the Chicago Botanical Gardens and another at the Greenhouse Theater Center.
They are now planning a second exhibit for Mexico City in 2013, led by Dominguez.
“Everybody has their own style, but it’s the same theme,” Cortes said. “It all has to do with women and what we go through and our culture, the way we were brought up.”
Through their art they hope to be part of a movement that is pushing past what has historically been known as fine art to a time when art of all cultures is accepted by mainstream critics.
“Our art will never be seen in big galleries down Michigan Avenue because we still can’t break that barrier,” said Cortes. “We are still considered — even though we’re trained — outside or folk art. That’s why we’re trying to break those barriers by getting noticed in little areas like this, so people will see us and maybe one of these days, our paintings will be in those galleries.”
As other women in the larger group continue to showcase their work throughout the world with the Pintoras Mexicanas name, they are starting to gain popularity, especially in their hometowns.
“It’s something bigger than just us in Chicago,” Cortes said. “We’re like a small piece to the bigger puzzle.”
Gomez said she has heard from many people in Mexico who are very proud of their collective success.
“Back at home (in Mexico), they think that we are famous,” said Laura Gomez, with a laugh. “One day I’m going to return, and the whole world is going to be there I bet.”
The group’s most recent project, Rostros de La Migracion, is a collaboration with an organization called Migrantes Frontera Sur to create a gallery of portraits of Mexican women that will express the process of immigration.
The gallery will be touring in different cities in Mexico and will come to North America, and eventually Chicago later this year. Proceeds from the show will be used to help families in Mexico that want to migrate to America.
“(Pintoras Mexicanas) are already having such a beautiful impact,” said Laura Gomez. “This is going to make it big.”