I am very appreciative that my work is getting such positive attention. I’ve included an excerpt. You can READ MORE here.
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Chicana Artist Explores Heritage Through Retablo Paintings
By Lydia Gil
SANTA FE, New Mexico – Chicana artist Cristina Acosta has turned to sacred art as a means of exploring her religious and cultural heritage, incorporating aspects of her life, beliefs and family history into Madonna retablos.
“The tradition of the retablo (devotional image) reflects both the past and the present,” said the artist, whose works are now on display as part of an exhibit of contemporary retablos at this southwestern U.S. city’s El Museo Cultural.
The word “retablo” in Spanish dates back to the Renaissance and Baroque era and was used to refer to large screens that were placed behind altars in churches and were decorated with paintings, carvings, and sculptures.
These large altar screens then became prevalent in colonial Latin America as well, and by the 19th century oil-on-tin retablo paintings of Christ, the Virgin, and saints were commonly produced by amateur artists for devotional use in the home.
However, in parts of the southwestern United States, such as New Mexico and Colorado, retablos passed beyond the realm of sacred art into that of folklore.
Acosta said there are two types of retablos, one belonging to the tradition of Catholic saints and the other to that of “ex-votos,” or offerings of gratitude.
She says the first group is similar to the concept of icon painting in Byzantine art, in which the figures of saints or the Holy Family are painted in accordance with strict liturgical rules that define how the main figure should be portrayed.
“The counterpoint to that tradition is the ex-voto retablo, for which there are no rules but rather (the artist) creates a personal vision to give thanks for a blessing (received) or when a petition was heard,” she said.
It is within this folk tradition that her art is rooted.
Acosta said her retablos have served as a medium for meditating on her family heritage, her Latino identity and her role as a woman and an artist.
“My retablos are strictly related to my life, my Latina-Chicana cultural heritage in the southwestern U.S. and my personal opinions and life experiences,” she said.
Acosta, who now lives in Oregon, grew up in a Catholic family – the daughter of an Anglo-American mother and a Mexican-American father – in southern California. . . . READ MORE
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The article was picked up by the international service, so you may find it in Latin America and Spain as well.
Here it is in English translation: