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Las Tristes, Muertas y Dormidas

(The sad women, the dead women and the women who are asleep) 2006 - 2007. 

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An multi-disciplinary body of work

Drawings: a collection of 176 drawings, multiple sizes, scraps of paper, primed and unprimed cotton and linen, vellum, cardboard, cheesecloth with tissue paper and hand-made paper. Pencils, pens, ink, graphite, charcoal, oil pastel, color pencils, watercolor pencils, watercolors, gouache, acrylic, and thread. 

Video: Mountain Duration 1’30” 

Performance: Las Tristes, Muertas y Dormidas Duration 15’20” performed on September 15, 2007 Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY


“One day I made a quick drawing on a scrap of paper of how my body was feeling, I taped it to the wall. I kept making more and more, big, small, on any kind of material I could get my hands on. The drawings overtook my whole studio.” 


Las Tristes, Muertas y Dormidas weaves in different references - on one hand the homicides hundreds of women of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico (1993 to the present), the impact on male gaze (and with it an intricate pattern of values, attitudes, prejudices toward women - patriarchy) and lastly the artist’s personal history with physiological aggression. All these are expressed through the body and into the drawings, writing and live and recorded performance. 


“Men look at women, women watch themselves being looked at” John Berger, Ways of Seeing, 1972. The male gaze is a tool of aggression where women encounter the “impossibility” of emerging triumphantly. The female body is the image that repeats itself to represent trauma and searches for healing. 


The written story emerged to give voice – to many women or possibly one as they lay – flat in the ground in a deserted landscape. Link to full text


The performance was inspired by the written story as the artist unfolds a stack of sheets with drawings of women. She lays them on the floor acting as a mother, healer or undertaker.  

Link to performance 


The video Mountain brings back a character who appears in the written story – the digger – her face close to the screen and a blue sky behind her. She engages in dutiful action. Link to video


“The drawings, the drawings...are now all over the floor. I can’t see my walls. They keep moving through me throughout this process. They are visceral, the quick lines come from my body and my own feelings of psychological overwhelm." Link to drawings


“We are afraid to see how we have taken the values of our oppressor into our hearts and turned them against ourselves and one another.” Ana Castillo

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Photo credit Karla Landgrave

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