The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In this document Chicana art critic Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano analyzes important works by two prominent Chicana visual artists, Ester Hernández and Yolanda López in order to show how both women subvert popular imagery and iconography to reclaim it from the dominant culture and create icons of Chicano national pride. The author discusses Hernández’s famous print, Sun Mad, in which she references popular graphic traditions by using well-known cultural symbols to comment on the unhealthy, dangerous, and unjust conditions to which farm workers and farming communities with large Chicano populations are often subjected. Also, Yarbro-Bejarano discusses Libertad, another print by Hernández, in which she subverts the iconography of the Statue of Liberty in a call for a more pluralistic, non-European view of American society. The author then looks at examples from both Hernández and López in which they reconfigure the iconography of the Virgin of Guadalupe, reclaiming her symbolism for the empowerment of themselves and all Chicanas.
Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano is a professor at Stanford University in Chicana/o cultural studies with an emphasis on gender and queer theory, Chicana/o literature, and representations of race, sexuality, and gender in cultural production by Chicanas/os and Latinas/os. This essay was written for a special “Salute to Latinas in the Arts” issue of CrossRoads, a multi-ethnic journal for “contemporary political analysis and left dialogue” published in Oakland, California. Yarbro-Bejarano focuses on two icons of Chicana art, Yolanda Lopez (born 1942) and Ester Hernandez (born 1944). While not an art historian, she situates Lopez’s and Hernandez’s art within a context of the Chicano Movement and how Chicana artists can subvert gender, racial, and religious oppression. Of note, Yarbro-Bejarano provides an excellent example of how Lopez infuses the Virgin of Guadalupe with indigenous references to reclaim and validate the native roots of Chicanas, while also commenting on issues of labor, family, domesticity, and feminine power. She also makes a compelling case of how Hernández uses the religious Virgin of Guadalupe and the Statue of Liberty to align them with feminist and revolutionary ideals.