My latest piece, Cuando el Oportunista es Rey en el Barrio, La Mujer es Una Comodida/When the Opportunist is King in the Neighborhood, Woman is a Comodity, is one in a series of works attempting to create discourse on how we/society reward/glorify the entitled predator. These predatory norms are exemplified in popular cinema, media news coverage, television programming, the behavior of our financial institutions, cultural/religious/political norms and the war machine. Brutal power is glorified as excellent and ever present. Modern societies have normalized and justified violent predatory behavior as acts of a superior evolved intelligence/a symbol of power/excellence, which is entitled to whatever it desires. In this brutal vernacular of power, persons or entities who do not seek power through brutality, who abide by a more diplomatic and humane mode of behavior, are expendable, weak, and are an acceptable sacrifice to brutality/co-modification.
Some of the symbols pictured in this painting are the suited figures. They are lined-up, complying and complicitors with the norms of brutal power and giving tithe to the Cash Register god to assure them comfortable consumer lifestyles. In order to be good complicitors, these suited figures have their eyes sewn shut and binders to avoid any fact or information that might indicate the real price of their consumerism. The Cash Register god is in control of all military, economic and cultural activity. All military/police actions are to eliminate cultures/entities that will not abide by a commodity/consumerist society and are an obstacle to that end. The ultimate goal is to take control of all natural resources, politics and economies. The goal of the Cash Register god and its priests are to profit at any cost.
In the desert, dead end alley valley is the outline of the invisible sacrificed persons for the Cash Register god’s profit. In this co-modified, entitled world, brutality is the norm; the female and nature is chattel.
I frequently use the image of women - not to exemplify just the gender, but those aspects of ourselves that we negate or deny in order to survive in a co-modifying, mass consumption world view, to exemplify cultures and entities whose ideals are to live in harmony with the natural world, which live a sustainable lifestyle and support a just society. In La Santera, I invite the viewer to imagine a history which doesn’t use war and the victor to define history. What if history was written to shame conflicts/the predators and to document those incidents which evolved our humanistic advancements? What if history valued and included the histories of individuals and cultures that did not leave big structures, did not leave a damaged natural environment and lived in peace and with respect of others? In the piece La Tierra Santa, the central figure of Mother Earth is warding off any more damage to the remaining animals, plants, and cultures who will never be consumers and who lives in balance with the natural world. Many creative Latinas have revisited how female historical figures are portrayed in texts and cultures and in the work and in La Malinche Tenía Sus Razones, I wanted to re-present the image of the Nahua woman La Malinche, viewed in history books as the whore and betrayer who became the informant and interpreter of the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés, to reflect on the dehumanization of institutions that rely on slavery.
Text by Cecilia Concepcíon Alvarez
Cuando el Oportunista es Rey en el Barrio, La Mujer es Una Comodida/When the Opportunist is King in the Neighborhood, Woman is a Comodity
La Malinche Tenía Sus Razones
La Tierra Santa
Cecilia Concepcion Alvarez was born in National City, California. Her mother is Mexicana and her father is Cubano. Alvarez was raised between Sand Diego, California, USA and Ensenada, Baja California del Norte, Mexico. She studied Sociology at San Diego State University. In 2001, she was honored as an Illustrious Alumna by SDSU’s Chicano/a Education and Woman Studies. She has worked in Higher Education and in K-12 education for 25 years, as well as being a full-time artist and lecturer. Alvarez is a self-taught artist - primarily a painter who has also created large-scale public art. Alvarez has worked extensively with youth in creating murals and cultural awareness. You can find her complete works here: www.ceciliaalvarez.com