Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Home


Document first page thumbnail

In this essay, Guisela Latorre examines the reinterpretation by Chicano/a artists of photographs of soldaderas (female soldiers who participated in the Mexican Revolution) by the Mexican photographer Agustín Víctor Casasola. According to Latorre, the soldadera became a female archetype representing the anxieties produced by women’s active involvement in history. In the 1970s, Chicano/a artists began using images of soldaderas as a form of cultural resistance. So that he representation of the soldadera became a point of contestation between those artists with a male-centered ideological background and those who challenged Chicano nationalism from a feminist standpoint. The latter artists introduced the image of the soldadera as a means of promoting the vital role of women in the creation of a Chicano nationalist identity. Latorre illustrates her argument by considering the works of the following Chicano/a artists: Santa Barraza, Larry Yañez, Yolanda López, Carolina Flores, and Carlos Almaraz.


Guisela Latorre is an art historian focusing primarily on Chicana art production and gendered artistic practices and iconography of United States Latino/a art. Though published in 2005, this essay was first presented in 1999 at the conference, “U.S. Latina/Latino Perspectives on La Malinche,” held at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Latorre is one of the few art historians to discuss the impact of Mexican photography on Chicano/a art, particularly the work of Agustín Casasola. Here, she ties his use of La Soldadera to the contested representation of La Malinche by Chicano and Chicana artists. The text is also a good example of the work of younger art historians who are reassessing and reevaluating the imagery of the Chicano Movement—but from a feminist perspective (traditionally dominated by male and national chauvinism).

Tere Romo
Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
Courtesy of Guisela Latorre, Worthington, OH
"Revisting Agustin Victor Casola's Soldaderas: Malinchismo and the Chicana/o Artist" by Guisela Latorre is reprinted with permission from the publisher of "Feminism, Nation, and Myth: Ka Malinche" edited by Rolando Romero, co-editor Amanda Harris © 2005 Arte Público Press-University of Houston