University of Houston Downtown – O’Kane Gallery presents the exhibition Natalia Anciso: Aspire / Aspirar on view October 26 – December 7, 2017.
Natalia Anciso creates art predicated on realities and legends of her upbringing. Her works are visual records of family, community, and border culture along her native Rio Grande.
These Borderlands have long been ravaged by poverty, human trafficking, and the ongoing Mexican Drug War. The Rio Grande cuts one land and people in two, like a wound, bleeding a legacy of pain, tears, and struggle that have beset the area for generations. Anciso’s family has resided in this geographic territory for over four generations.
Anciso researches vernacular arts like pano arte, handkerchief art believed to have emerged from Chicano prisoners in the 1940s, and the huipil, embroidered Mayan textiles worn by indigenous women in Southern and Central America. These art forms are reconfigured to tell contemporary stories of life along the Texas/Mexico border.
Juxtaposing beautifully colored, watercolor-drawn images of flowers indigenous to Texas against stark, monochromatic media images, meticulously rendered in pen, Anciso offers the beauty of home against grisly depictions of the Mexican Drug War. Using these tools on domestic textiles such as handkerchiefs, pillowcases, and bed sheets, Anciso’s work examines psycho-political struggles of life along La Frontera.