PATRICIA RODRÍGUEZ – CALIFORNIA ARTIST
At the conference it was really important to understand the concept of Aztlán. How we belonged to the land. So it was a real awakening.
It was a dream come try to be able to go to San Francisco Art Institute, but we were really frustrated. We wanted to be artists, but our male friends, our compadres, our boyfriends, weren’t interested in having us be part of the mural movement with them. So we had to find a way of discovering ourselves. And we said, well, we’re just as good, so why don’t we develop our own thing? So Graciela [Carrillo] and I tested the waters. We did a mural in Balmy Ally. And after that we invited Consuelo and Irene [Perez] to see if they wanted to do a big mural together.
Panamérica was a really important mural. It was the beginning of a real breakthrough. We didn’t want to copy the same kind of imagery that was being produced in Los Angeles. We wanted to do something different and being at the art institute, we were being influenced by pop-artists, by impressionists, by all the modern stuff. We combined it all in that mural so if you look at it, its got hard edge imagery, and its got almost cartoon like imagery, its very modern.Mujeres Muralistas created images that were every much dealing with the female figure and the female figure in the family, in the community. We were giving the family much more importance in the community, in the over all society, that was overlooked and not paid attention to.
The murals were important to us as woman muralists, because it was uniting the community. It was talking to the community. It was painting paintings that were for everyone. It was taking the paintings out of the museum and putting them on the streets. The fact that Latina women never had a voice, we never had any kind of imagery that was ours, so the grasping of the personal and the way we saw the world had a lot to say about who we were as Chicanas. And the fact that we now had the power to say it. The power to say that were Okay in this society. That we had a voice.