|Yolanda M. López|
|Education||San Diego State University,
University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
|Movement||Bay Area Chicano Art Movement|
Yolanda M. López (born 1942) is an American painter, printmaker, educator and film producer located in San Francisco, California. She is known for her work that focuses on the experience of Mexican American women and often challenges ethnic stereotypes associated with them.
After graduating from high school in Logan Heights, she moved to San Francisco and became involved in the student movement that shut down San Francisco State University in a 1968 strike called the "Third World Strike". She also became active in the arts. During this time period, López became aware of her position within the community as she is quoted saying, "I did not become aware of our own history until 1968 when there was a call for a strike at San Francisco State, a strike for ethnic studies. I heard the men and women that led that Third World Strike speak and I understood at that point what my position was being part of this long legacy of being part of the oppressed people, just like Black people."
During the 1970s, López returned to San Diego. She enrolled at San Diego State University in 1971, graduating in 1975 with a B.A. in painting and drawing. She enrolled at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), receiving with a Master of Fine Arts in 1979.
Artist René Yañez married Yolanda M. Lopez in the late 1970s, they lived together in San Francisco's Mission district and they had a child, artist Río Yañez (born 1980). They eventually divorced a few years later but Yolanda moved in to the apartment next door and they maintained a professional relationship.
López obtained international celebrity for her Virgen de Guadalupe series of drawings, prints, collage, assemblage, and paintings. The series, which depicted "ordinary" Mexican women (including her grandmother and López herself) with Guadalupan attributes (usually the mandorla). The works attracted praise for "sanctifying" average Mexican women, who were depicted performing domestic and other labor. Critics, particularly devotees of the Virgin, objected to the series, which they viewed as a sacrilegious debasement of a holy image.
Woman's Work is Never Done is another set of prints. One of the series prints collection, one of which, "The Nanny", attempted to study some problems faced by immigrant women of Hispanic descent in the United States.
Her famous political poster titled Who's the Illegal Alien, Pilgrim? features an angry young man in an Aztec headdress and traditional jewelry holding a crumpled-up paper titled "Immigration Plans." This 1978 poster was created during a period of political debate in the U.S. which resulted in the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1978, which limited immigration from a single country to 20,000 people per year with a total cap of 290,000. With this poster, she claims that the modern descendants of the Aztecs and their neighbors have a fundamental right to immigrate freely to the United States of America and Canada because Spain claimed much of the western portion of North America as its colonial territory. (The Aztec territory itself never reached further north than what is now central Mexico; pre-colonial North America was instead populated by hundreds of independent aboriginal peoples.)
López has also curated exhibitions, including "Cactus Hearts/Barb Wired Dreams", which featured works of art concerning immigration to the United States. The exhibition debuted at the Galería de la Raza and subsequently toured nationwide as part of an exhibition called "La Frontera/The Border: Art About the Mexico/United States Border Experience".
According to López, "It is important for us to be visually literate; it is a survival skill. The media is what passes for culture in contemporary U.S. society, and it is extremely powerful. It is crucial that we systematically explore the cultural mis-definition of Mexicans and Latin Americans that is presented in the media."
- "Shaping San Francisco". Shaping SF. 2014. Retrieved 2015-04-21.
- Ruiz, Vicki L. (1998). From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth Century America. New York City: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-513099-5.
- "Immigration Statistics: A Story of Neglect". books.nap.edu. 1985. p. 20. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
- Davalos, Karen Mary (2008). Yolanda López. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press. ISBN 9780895511102.
- Yolanda Lopez - Guide to the Yolanda M. López Papers, 1961–1998 at the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives