Neta is highlighting different artists across South Texas. Our featured artist for April was local visual and community engaged artist Nansi Guevara. She was born in Laredo, Texas, and now resides in Brownsville, Texas, where she is a working artist and is part of the artist collective Las Imaginistas. Her work is at the core of using her border and rasquache sensibilities to create decolonial public artwork alongside communities. Below is a statement from the artist.
“Almost two years ago, I had the honor of coming back to the border. My identity as a fronteriza has always been important to me and took my border sensibilities and knowledge everywhere that I went. Living and working in the Rio Grande Valley feels very special and necessary right now. With a heightened national anti immigrant rhetoric and policy, I need to be with my Mexican border community. I need to feel the nurture of my culture and be in collective resistance through my work and through working with the amazing grassroots leadership here. I see a strong queer and woman led progressive movement here and it will keep growing.
“In my work I have been inspired by political and revolutionary poster art from all over the world. I’m drawn to the power of graphic language to evoke action and a collective call for justice. As I was forming my identity outside of Laredo, making these images and posters where important for me to feel grounding and a sense of dignity and pride in spaces that often didn’t celebrate or honor my culture.
“In my work now, I combine and layer fabric and lace with printmaking. The fabric I use is often fabric found in homes here and in Mexico, lace and embroidered fabric used to decorate and arrange alters. At home, our communities pray for their families, think of their loved ones who can’t cross the border to be with them, love and sustain each other, and resist.
“In my fabric work, I try to express the pain of seeing beauty get detained, aspiration being deported, and talent be granted a temporary stay. It is also very important for me to show the power in our community and that injustice will always be met with resistance.
My work is part of a yearning to feel at home, and to say that we belong, and we deserve to feel safe, not fear, belonging, not alienation, and nurtured, not surveilled. Militarization and detention is the result of a system that decided we were dangerous and criminal.”