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

Farmington, NM-based Latina artist, Rosemary Meza-DesPlas is known for exploring gender, sexuality, and identity issues through hand-sewn human hair drawings, watercolors and on-site drawing installations. She received an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a BFA from The University of North Texas. Ms. Meza-DesPlas has been sewing with her own hair since 2000. Her decision to collect and sort hair to utilize as a vehicle for making art is informed by socio-cultural symbolism, feminism, body image, and religious symbolism. An article on her hand-sewn human hair drawings was featured in the Huffington Post Arts & Culture section in 2015. Meza-DesPlas’ most recent drawings incorporate her gray hair. In 2019, Rosemary Meza-DesPlas was featured in Santa Fe, NM’s the/magazine as “12 Artists in New Mexico to Know Now”. Ms. Meza-DesPlas parallels the themes in her artwork with the written word and spoken word performances. In 2018, she presented the academic paper Reclaiming the Tool of Anger: Year of the Angry Women at the 9th International Conference of the Image in Hong Kong. Ms. Meza-DesPlas’ recent spoken word performances were at the Feminist Art Conference, Ontario College of Art & Design, Toronto, Canada; Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, NM; ARC Gallery in Chicago, IL and the Durango Arts Center in Durango, CO.

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