Leticia y Andrea
Mixed Media on Panel,
60"h x 48"w, Item No. 9616,
Leticia y Andrea are Uruguayan street sweepers whom I met in
Montevideo-- during one of my extended stays in Argentina. The portrait was
part of a large series of portraits of women: workers, vendors, mothers,
organizers, etc.; titled Miss World. Of the series, Professor Dr.
Nathalia Jaramillo, wrote:
Miss World introduces us to the sensual,
laboring, spiritual, and defiant bodies of women, whose reflections often
remain buried in the layered terrain of the collective imaginary.
The women of Miss World are the everyday
citizen-subjects who labor and love against the social backdrop of economic and
personal exploitation. In this new series, Erin has provided a powerful
counter-story to the Eurocentric concept of a ‘grand slam beauty pageant.’ In
stark contrast to the constructions of female beauty that emphasize a withering
away of body and mind as the universal symbol of womanhood, Erin's female
subjects portray the politically embodied subjectivity of women at recurring
moments in their daily lives. There is no push to crown any woman
queen in Miss World; there is a different alchemy in motion in this series.
The layers of meaning embedded within Erin’s
art, through her use of ‘trash’ and mixed collages that create powerful
landscapes of the women she paints, invite us to question the ‘other’ universal
themes and economic and political relations that bring together resisting/luchadora women
around the world. The portraits caution us to reconsider the corpus of
symbolic landmarks that we use collectively to determine our location in time
and space, to think anew about the effects of patriarchy, the economy and
consumerism in our globalized society, and to open our minds to the ordinary
acts of everyday social struggle.