The Bolsa* works began in 2015 at 360 Xochi Quetzal residency in Jalisco, Mexico. I wanted to create works informed by the living and working culture, and reflect the history of the region. I felt that my unique position as a US citizen of Mexican decent immersed in Jalisco culture - helped me contribute to the project of defining this place. The United States has disavowed it’s shared history and culture with Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean. New World history is simplified, falsified, or completely ignored. Bolsas examine the energy and visual culture of Mexico as a way of participating in the re-education project that ends misunderstanding.
Bolsas are synthetic material bags used in construction and agriculture work. Working with Victor Parra a Guadalajara saddle maker, the bags were sewn together and embellished with stitched leather panels sometimes including inlaid mirrors. Jalisco craft and labor traditions remain strong. There is a hand-to-
mouth relationship of work and sustenance. Victor is one of six brothers in a family of saddle makers. He is part of what may be the last generation of working Charros.** Leather designs and working practices show world history: When horses and cattle were initially brought to Jalisco, the Marlborough Man was born. Moorish leather-working traditions were brought to Spain and the New World. The same for Mudejar (Arabic, Mudajjanun, ‘Those permitted to remain’) style architecture seen everywhere in Jalisco. These small bright-colored domes crown buildings big and small. Colored ribbons, vernacular methods and materials including bread and chicharron*** refer to Mexico’s vernacular culture with it’s diverse past and complex and vibrant present.
**Charros are the traditional horsemen of west-central Mexico