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This document is the transcript of an interview between Chicana visual artist Carmen Lomas Garza and Anne-Louise Marquis, curator of Directions, a 1995 exhibition of her works. The interview covers a wide range of topics, including Lomas Garza’s artistic influences, the ways in which her education and personal background affected her development, and the experiences that motivated her to dedicate her career as an artist to the advancement of the Chicano community. Lomas Garza comments on the progression of her work, expressing her desire to create art that is not exclusively political but which also depicts positive scenes from everyday life. Marquis and Lomas Garza discuss several of the artist’s works, including her Heaven and Hell series, as well as Abuelitos Piscando Nopalitos [Grandparents Harvesting Cacti, 1980], Polvo y Pelo [Dust and Hair, 1987], El Pleito [The Fight, 1987], and Empanadas [Turnovers, 1991], among others. Lomas Garza speaks of her desire for each of her paintings to serve the purpose of providing Chicanos with a better understanding of themselves as a people.
Carmen Lomas Garza is one of the key Chicana artists, both in her native Texas and in California’s Chicano art movement, who has received international, along with national mainstream, art recognition. This interview was included in the brochure for her solo exhibition Directions at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Gallery in Washington, D.C., in 1995. The exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum, one of the prestigious Smithsonian Institution museums, marked an important national artistic milestone for Lomas Garza personally and for Chicano art as well. The show also caused controversy after a negative review by The Washington Post staff writer Richard Paul (December 3, 1995) generated protest letters to the editor, two of which were published in the newspaper.
For Richard Paul’s review, see doc. No. 849495. For the protest letters, see doc No. 849514 and doc. No. 849533.