Books: Chicana Political Power

Yolanda M. Lu00f3pezu2019s most famous reinterpretations of la Virgen de Guadalupe will no doubt spark discussions around Chicanisma, sexuality and tradition.

By Leticia Miranda Jul 16, 2009

Yolanda M. López (University of Minnesota Press), the second installment in a series called A Ver: Revisioning Art History, is a serious exploration of the artist’s contributions to political art and more true representations of Chicana political power.

In an effort to record the life of the artist, Karen Mary Davalos springboards into the story with a quote from López in which she honors her grandparents, “who courageously crossed el Rio Grande on a moonless and dangerous night in 1918.” Lopez had a complicated connection to her Mexican identity as she grew up in the very white and conservative San Diego, California, but that combined with her mother’s union work inspired her radical vision for political art. These details weave nicely together to form a comprehensive context for the artist’s work.

Davalos’s academic interpretations of López’s work and contributions might be a challenge for some readers, but the images of the artist’s work allow readers who are not fluent in academese to form their own meanings. With its numerous reprints of López’s most famous reinterpretations of la Virgen de Guadalupe, this book will no doubt spark interesting discussions around Chicanisma, sexuality and tradition.

Yolanda M. López is an essential text for art educators, exhibition curators, scholars and students. A helpful teaching guide and other resources will soon
be available through the University of Minnesota Press website.