The Evolution of the Burden Hat

The “Burden Hat” made its debute at my exhibition “nevertheless: She Persisted” @ the Durango Arts Center. My exhibition focused on the theme of gender-based burdens. It spoke about burdens which disproportionately impact women such as poverty, domestic violence, body image and political inequality.  In my artworks, some of the women carry organic forms on their heads. The organic forms are inspired by the rock formations at the Bisti Badlands south of Farmington, NM. Those same rock formations later served as inspiration for the “burden hat”. If one could give visual form to their psychological burdens, what would they look like in the abstract? This is how the “burden hat” evolved. I used it as part of my costume for my spoken word performance at the Durango Arts Center in March 2, 2018.

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Author: rosemarymezadesplas

“I was born and raised in Garland, Texas; a manufacturing-based suburb of Dallas. My parents’ heritage is rooted south of the US border: my mother was born in Allende located in Coahuila, Mexico. My father, born in Santa Maria, Texas, grew up in Tampico situated within Tamaulipas, Mexico. The tenacity of my eight aunts in the face of personal tragedies and adversities was an early inspiration; their narratives contributed to my embrace of feminist ideology.” Rosemary Meza-DesPlas currently lives in Farmington, New Mexico. The cornerstone of her artwork is the female experience within a patriarchal society. As a woman, daily navigation of our world is a precarious tight-rope walk. The use of portraiture to discuss gender-based burdens personalizes the political. Intricate drawings are created by meticulous stitching of human hair. The dichotomy of human hair, depending upon context, is it can be engaging or off-putting: long, luxurious hair is sexy, but a hair in one’s soup is unappealing. Meza-DesPlas seduces the viewer with elegant, sensual marks of hair. Thematically, her artworks advocate for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Through on-site drawing installations and watercolor paintings, Meza-DesPlas evokes intellectual and visceral responses to socio-cultural burdens endured by women; these burdens and their subsequent impact on contemporary culture are interpreted through a global lens. She earned a MFA from Maryland Institute, College of Art (Hoffberger School of Painting) and a BFA from the University of North Texas. Her artwork has been exhibited at numerous galleries and museums throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Her work has been written about in several publications including the Huffington Post, Dallas Morning News, The Durango Herald, Wall Street International, and Interview Magazine. Ms. Meza-DesPlas parallels the themes in her visual artwork with the written word and spoken word performances.

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