Editor’s note: I so love this article. Definitely read the whole thing. One thing I really appreciate about this, again, is the artist as woman and her gaze.
“Mexican-Korean Painter Monica Kim Garza Creates A Safe World For Big-Bodied Women Of Color” article by Mala Muñoz
What I love most about Garza’s body of work is that she has created a world, a new dimension where women like me can lounge, eat, exercise, ride bikes, dance, and eat tacos with no clothes on, enjoying the sun and our own bodies without harassment, abuse, shame, or the threat of violence. The way that Garza seamlessly pairs images of nude or topless brown skinned women with iconic cultural and religious imagery like La Virgen is extremely powerful. Nudity or a perceived lack of modesty in many Latino communities is seen as sinful, dirty, and deviant, especially for Latina women. This demonization of the female body has deep roots in the colonization of our tierras, a process that has resulted in the degradation of women and girls in many of our families, churches, and community spaces.
To be a Latina means that one is often subjected to familial or public shaming for our bodies, self-expression, and sexualities. I love to be naked. If I could walk around with no clothes on without the threat of violence or shame, I would. Garza’s paintings allow me to mentally live out that desire to be free on my own terms and in my own body. In Garza’s world, women can enjoy their bodies, their lonjas, and their nalgas, in the sun, by the water, eating tacos, and chismeando with homegirls—if only! The women that Garza paints are free, free in a way that is not possible for many of us in our daily lived experiences. There is a great sense of safety and serenity in her paintings. The women she paints are safe, multi-dimensional, fed, well hydrated, and their skin looks like it’s been moisturized with the best raw coconut oil in the world.
Read full piece: Vibe