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Broken Spanish

Twenty three years old. Mexican American. Still feeling somewhere in between. My whole life I’ve felt the sting of racism and stereotype while being just as American as my aggressors. I’ve been made fun of and looked down on because I don’t know “true” Mexican culture and speak broken Spanish. This feeling of not truly belonging is accompanied by frustration and confusion.  I have found that I had to hold myself accountable to piece together who I am. My ideas and beliefs of Mexican American culture are derived from family members, life experiences, social constructs and socioeconomic status. Although these puzzle pieces of my identity aren’t always positive it is all I have to overcome my identity crisis.

The Broken Spanish project has allowed me to explore and confront racism, stereotype and identity crisis in a way that cannot be so easily ignored. Throughout the project I have researched contemporary artists such as Glenn Ligon, Kara Walker and Enrique Chagoya. Their different approaches have helped me to clarify my direction as well as develop the final product. Through printmaking, painting and photography I have implemented a working method that allows me to develop an important relationship between my work and the audience. I aim for the audience to question what I am doing. I want them to be uncomfortable and frustrated with what I am presenting. It is in this state of confusion that I feel most gratified with my work.  This relationship between my work and the audience is important because I feel that it can give the audience a glimpse at the world through my eyes.

This project is funded by a UW Oshkosh Faculty/Student Collaborative Research Grant.