Just wanted to share some exciting news! I am so honored to announce I am a recipient of the Latinx Artist Fellowship. The Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation announced on May 12th the newest cohort of the Latinx Artist Fellowship—a multiyear initiative administered by the US Latinx Art Forum (USLAF) in collaboration with the New York Foundation for the Arts. In its second year, the fellowship recognizes 15 of the most compelling Latinx visual artists working in the United States today, and aims to address a systemic lack of support, visibility, and patronage of Latinx visual artists—individuals of Latin American or Caribbean descent, born or living in the United States.
The 2022 Latinx Artist Fellows are:
Tanya Aguiñiga, Candida Alvarez, María Magdalena Campos Pons, Maria Gaspar, Jay Lynn Gomez, Lucia Hierro, Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, Koyoltzintli, Leslie Martinez, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Rosemary Meza-DesPlas, Las Nietas de Nonó, Carmelita Tropicana, Juana Valdés, Vincent Valdez.
The 2022 Fellowship class was chosen to reflect the diversity that exists within the Latinx community, highlighting the practices of women-identified, queer, and non-binary artists, as well as those from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds, ranging from Chicanx and Ecuadorian-American to Afro-Cuban and Indigenous. The cohort includes artists working in locations such as Baroda, Michigan; Farmington, New Mexico; San Antón, Carolina, Puerto Rico; and Nashville, Tennessee, while the aesthetic practices represented by the fellows span installation art, abstraction, and performance, as well as contemporary craft, textile, and fiber-based work. Deliberately intergenerational, it is equally divided between emerging, mid-career, and established artists.
“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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