This piece is a manifestation of a sketch I drew of a woman tossed in a desolate field, accompanied and comforted by an angel. I found the idea of the angel appealing but wanted something more powerful, consequently it became a disembodied angel’s head on a box – a “talking head” communicating by visual means. He is disembodied because he is spirit, not flesh.
The piece is an interactive assemblage employing found objects, an oil painting, and a papier-mâché and paper pulp sculpture. The box, which supports the angel’s head and wings, is a found object.
The box’s door is of non-glare Plexiglas selected because it provides a slightly blurry view when an image isn’t directly beneath it. Inlaid in the Plexiglas is a round magnifier, which is intended to draw the viewer closer for a detailed examination of what lies on the back surface – an oil painting based on my initial sketch of a partially nude female, lying in a field, surrounded by skulls. The difference between my painting and sketch is that rather than being comforted by an angel, the woman is being groped by a demon – symbolic of the killer(s) responsible for murdering over 450 females in Ciudad Juárez. The door can be opened for a closer unhindered view.
Beneath the door is a drawer, which serves two purposes. First, it represents a coffin. The handle is a nostalgic object – a Lucite pendant with a single rose symbolizing the flower often tossed on the coffin by each family member and friend before burial. Within the drawer is a collage of deconstructed words, which physically describe many of the murdered girls and women, i.e., cejas: gruesa y arquedas, nariz: mediana, tipo: afilada, cabello: castaño obscuro, etc. The words are deconstructed to symbolize the physical mutilation of many of the women and girls.
Next, while researching this subject matter, I read that some maquiladoras hired female employees because of their manual dexterity and because their small hands allowed them to easily assemble electronics parts, which are often enclosed in small spaces. Since so many of the women were employed at maquiladoras, it inspired me to place, in this small space, 27 hand bones (replicas). The bones are labeled in Spanish and English, with what the murdered women were to family, friends and people in the community i.e., hija, hermana, nieta, sobrina, prima, amiga, esposa, novia, mujer, niña, empleada, etc. This piece was part of Rastros y Crónicas: Women of Juárez, a group exhibit curated by Dolores Mercado and Linda Xóchitl Tortolero at the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA) in Chicago from October 16, 2009 - July 4, 2010.
Thank you to my pops, Horacio Q Acevedo, and my brother, Horacio F Acevedo (Chito) for lending me a hand with the hardware. I am sadly power tool deficient.
Rastros y Cronicas: Women of Juarez Exhibit – Co-Curated by Dolores, Mercado and Linda Xochitl Tortolero. To view a video about the issue, link to: http://vimeo.com/7595547 – Women of Juarez by Matthew Cunningham.