Yolanda López

About the artist:
  • Born in San Diego, Calif. in 1942 - raised in Logan Heights.
  • Her grandparents fled Mexico to the U.S. in 1918.
  • López’s grandmother, a Native American, helped connect López with her cultural past at a young age.
  • Her artwork is inspired by her negative reactions to stereotypical images of Chicanos in the popular arts and commercial images in the U.S.
  • Degrees:
    • B. A. in painting and drawing from San Diego State University (1975)
    • M. F. A. in visual arts from the University of California, San Diego (1978)
  • She is associated with the San Francisco Chicano/a Art Gallery, Galería de la Raza.
(Erickson)
  • Since 1996, she has worked as the official translator/interpreter for National School District in National City, Calif. and the City of National City and Chula Vista Police Department.
(López )
Artwork:
  • Virgen de Guadalupe (1975-1978) is a set of three portraits featuring López, her mother and her grandmother – depicted as the Virgin of Guadalupe, but with a “modern woman” twist.
  • López’s self portrait “was López’s way of providing role models, while paying homage to working-class women.“ ~Lili Wright in “Yolanda López’s Art Hits ‘Twitch Meter’ to Fight Stereotypes,” in The Salt Lake Tribune (1995)
  • Praise:
    • By Chicano women for “sanctifying” average Chicanas or Mexican women and acknowledging their many responsibilities
  • Criticism:
    • By some members of the Catholic Church who objected to the series because they thought of it as the “debasement of a holy image.”
(Erickson)

Popular and Controversial Works

  • “Who’s the Illegal Alien, Pilgrim?” Poster by López, featuring her version of an Aztec God with crumpled immigration papers
    • Created in 1978 during a period of political immigration debate in the U.S.
    • Suggests that white people are the true illegal aliens for coming to what is now the U.S. and taking the native peoples’ land.
    • Image/style borrows from “Uncle Sam Wants You” Army recruiting posters
    • Many Raza groups carry signs with this image on it while protesting immigration rights

  • “NAFTA: The True Goatsucker of Mexico:”Acrylic by Yolanda López.
    • Represents “the monster that North American Free Trade Agreement has become for Mexicans in Mexico. NAFTA, as a blood sucker exists to exploit and take advantage of Mexico’s workforce and resources.”
(López)


Sources:
Erickson, Mary, and Gary Cárdenas. “Questions and Answers about Yolanda López.” A Thematic, Inquiry-Based Art Education Resource. 2001. Web. 19 Oct 2011. <http://mati.eas.asu.edu/ChicanArte/html_pages/YLopezIssOutl.html
López, Yolanda. “NAFTA, Yolanda Lopez.”Flickr. 2011. Web. 19 Oct 2011. <http://www.flickr.com/photos/art-of-democracy/2284738415/>.


Chicana artist Yolanda  López  (Courtesy http://persimmontree.org
Chicana artist Yolanda López (Courtesy http://persimmontree.org
Present-day photo of López. (Courtesy http://latinopia.com)
Present-day photo of López. (Courtesy http://latinopia.com)
“Portrait of the Artist as the Virgin of Guadalupe.” (1975) .Oil pastel and pastel crayon portrait by Yolanda López. (Erickson)
“Portrait of the Artist as the Virgin of Guadalupe.” (1975) .Oil pastel and pastel crayon portrait by Yolanda López. (Erickson)
One of three oil pastel and pastel crayon portraits in the series “Virgen de Guadalupe” by Yolanda López. López’s grandmother helped López’s single mother raise her. (Erickson)
One of three oil pastel and pastel crayon portraits in the series “Virgen de Guadalupe” by Yolanda López. López’s grandmother helped López’s single mother raise her. (Erickson)
One of three oil pastel and pastel crayon portraits in the series “Virgen de Guadalupe” by Yolanda López. López’s mother supported her family by working at an industrial sewing machine for 30 years, which is why she is depicted at a sewing machine. (Erickson)
One of three oil pastel and pastel crayon portraits in the series “Virgen de Guadalupe” by Yolanda López. López’s mother supported her family by working at an industrial sewing machine for 30 years, which is why she is depicted at a sewing machine. (Erickson)
“NAFTA: The True Goatsucker of Mexico,” acrylic painting by Yolanda López. (López)
“NAFTA: The True Goatsucker of Mexico,” acrylic painting by Yolanda López. (López)
“Who’s the Illegal Alien, Pilgrim?” Poster by López, featuring her version of an Aztec God with crumpled immigration papers (1978)
“Who’s the Illegal Alien, Pilgrim?” Poster by López, featuring her version of an Aztec God with crumpled immigration papers (1978)