Date: October 27, 2017
Frida Kahlo is one of the many Mexicana revolutionary artists I am inspired by. Not only does the Mexicanidad history circulate in my veins, but I am constantly reminded of divided border issues, culture displacement, and otherness that plagues my identity and body representation. Following Frida’s communist and anti-capitalist sentiments, I have grown weary of TRUMP’S AMERICA. PENDEJO!
WHY IS FRIDA KAHLO BEING WHITEWASHED? LEAVE HER EYEBROWS ALONE?
I am a second generation Mexicana/Chicana living in the U.S. My family left Chihuahua, Mexico City, and Guanajuato during the Mexican Revolution. Seeking education, safety, and opportunity my family gained U.S. citizenship in the U.S around 1916. My family during this time was deeply discriminated against for being Mexican and spanish speakers. They had no choice but to assimilate. My Grandfather Jesus Jose Rubio Sr. was a watchmaker at the family business, La Violeta, a bustling pawn shop on downtown Alameda Street El Paso TX. He taught my father to be diligent in working, providing for his family, and an appreciation for education. My grandmother Maria Luisa Anaya was vigilant to ensure her sons and daughters had teachers who would not penalize them for being Mexican children in Anglo schools.
The Rubio’s were proud to be in the U.S. and kept the Mexican culture secretly in the home. On the outside, they Americanized and were thankful for the opportunities the U.S. offered, and as time pasted rooted down in different parts of the country. However, my grandfather refused to become a citizen and refused to speak in English.
Noting, when my Uncle Joe Rubio passed this summer, that my roots and connection to my culture had been severed so quickly. I was shocked to learn that I was only a second generation Mexicana since my family is whitewashed in American culture. I figured that since my family had Americanized that I was at least 4-5 generations in. My response: I am angry that my family assimilated, that I cannot speak my language fluently, and the shame that sometimes comes with being a whitewashed Mexicana. Embody my history and make WORK.
Recognizing barriers back to my native language: My parents spoke both languages in the home, and I grew up speaking both fluently. My time in Texas was fruitful with embedded cultural and historical roots deep into the fabric of my being - problematic as well. However, by my travels, growing up, and not needing to speak or fully communicate left me without anything above an intermediate level. I miss this form of communication deeply. I have anxiety about using my language. While my ears are still able to understand conversations I feel cut off. Part of me is missing.
In moving towards the future, I set out to reconnect my communications in the native tongue, continue to research my roots, embody my Mexicanidad / Chicana identity, and bring forth this community, ritual, and practice to my choreographic makings. I struggle with this idea of representation as an artist and while I seek for myself to discover truths, I don’t want to continue to perpetuate harmful stereotypical art-making.
In my research, I realize the surge of history and connections alive in my body are waiting to be found. The historical body of generations living forward in life itself. I choose to activate these memories, roots, and histories so that I can fully realize the power of ancestry. Life itself is the narrator folding and refolding the story.
With all the questions, insecurities, anxieties I am digging into the works of Gloria E. Anzaldua.
Currently pursuing her book:
Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, Fourth Edition