Juarez: Cuidad de la Muerte – pastel on paper; 32 x 40 in.
I have been a professional visual artist for nearly 40 years. My career began in the politically tumultuous period of the 1960’s as a founding member of the Chicano Art and Mural Movements in Los Angeles, California. Through my experiences as an artist-activist I have witnessed first-hand the powerful effect that visual art can have in the support of social change, and I have always believed that the artist as citizen has the responsibility to comment on the issues affecting our society. No social issues could be more compelling than those that continue to affect women around the world. As a Mexican woman, I have always been acutely aware of the extra effort required of women to find and express our own voices. I am grateful to the creative process for giving me the means to address the social issues important to women, and in doing so, I hope that I have communicated the need for them to find and share their own creative vision.
“Juarez: Cuidad de la Muerte” attempts to bring scrutiny to the unsolved murders of young female factory workers in the Mexican border city of Juarez that have occurred for nearly two-decades. The fact that the remains of these young women are discarded in the desert like so much debris is one of the most brutal examples of the abuse and exploitation of women in this hemisphere. It has been said that art has the ability to focus and capture the imagination, if that is true, what better use of those qualities than to bring attention to society’s injustices.
© Judithe Hernandez