Division of Labor: Women Shifting a Transnational Gaze
The Museum invites Arizona-based artists M. Jenea Sanchez and Gabriela Muñoz to participate in a critical engagement with the SMoCA Collection, a first in the Museum's history.
Feb 20 - Aug 22, 2021
For Division of Labor: Women Shifting a Transnational Gaze, SMoCA invites the Arizona-based artists M. Jenea Sanchez and Gabriela Muñoz to participate in a critical engagement with SMoCA’s Collection, a first in the Museum’s history. Beginning with a selection of nearly 20 works chosen through the unifying context of labor and the gaze, the artists have invited long-term collaborators Ammi Robles (Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico) and DouglaPrieta Trabajan (DPT) (Douglas, Arizona and Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico) to create new works following an historical continuum through a collaborative process foundational to their artistic practice. Together the group of 10 female artists offer a unique perspective on labor in connection to feminisms, identity, equity, and the gaze that reaches across the United States/Mexico border. Helping to shape and re-center the often-overlooked experiences of Latinx women living in the Southwest. This exhibition also addresses biases traditionally ascribed to laborers.
Beginning with works by two well-known photographers, Luis González Palma (Guatemala) and Pedro Meyer (Spain), this exhibition inspired Sanchez and Muñoz to expand on the narrow understanding of Latinx identity as seen in SMoCA’s Collection. The artist’s long-standing relationship with the DouglaPrieta Trabajan (DPT) typifies the framework of horizontal leadership and power-sharing that is at the heart of their practice. In Agua Prieta, the all-women collective uses peer-to-peer learning to foster the community’s self-sufficiency, especially in the fight for food sovereignty in the Chihuahuan Desert region. The artists featured in Division of Labor have worked transnationally over the past five years and in this context present a series of new portraits and self-portraits that break the conventional modes of artist and subject.
Division of Labor: Women Shifting a Transnational Gaze is is curated by M. Jenea Sanchez and Gabriela Muñoz in conjunction with Jennifer McCabe, director and chief curator, and Keshia Turley, curatorial assistant. This exhibition is supported in part by Surdna Foundation/National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC).
DouglaPrieta Trabajan (DPT) began in 2003 as a grassroots self-help project in Agua Prieta, Sonora, just across the border from Douglas, Arizona. DPT’s purpose has always been to assist individuals and families in colonias populares, or poor neighborhoods, by developing local capacities for economic self-sufficiency. DPT operates under the belief that communities can cultivate solidarity and self-determination by making local neighborhoods more productive. Today, the centerpiece of the program is a permaculture demonstration site designed to teach families sustainable food production techniques, including gardening, aquaculture, and small livestock raising. The goal is to reduce the cost of living and at the same time build an ethic of mutual aid among neighbors in order to reduce dependency on weak job markets, government assistance, charity, and border crossing. DPT members represented in this exhibition are Bertha Alicia Alvarado A., Dulce Guadalupe Garcia A, Hijinia Arce, Trinidad Anguamea Brasil, Rosalinda Sagaste Chavez, Matilde Sagaste, and Victoria Guadalupe Niebles Valenzuela.
Gabriela Muñoz is an artist whose work is rooted in her experiences as a migrant who lived in Arizona, undocumented, for more than a decade. A Latinx woman living in the Southwest, her practice is concerned with movements of social justice and racial equality. Her installations, printed works and collaborations function as a growing archive that documents stories and histories of individuals from communities that are under resourced and underestimated. Her work centers women of color and the spaces where they build a counternarrative that values power-sharing, peer-to-peer learning and horizontal leadership models. An artist in service of other artists, Muñoz’s work as an arts administrator supports the development of BIPOC artists and culture bearers in the Southwest region through the development of artist-centric programs, grantmaking, and creative partnerships. Muñoz is a 2020–2021 NALAC Catalyst for Change Award recipient, a 2019–2020 Mellon-Fronteridades Creative Scholar at the UofA’s Confluence Center, and is a fellow of both the Intercultural Leadership Institute and the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture’s Leadership Institute. Her work has been exhibited at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SmoCA), the University of Arizona Art Museum, Juniata Museum of Art, the Mexican Consulate in Douglas, The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, and the United States/Mexico border fence. Muñoz holds a bachelor of arts in English literature and a master of fine arts in printmaking from Arizona State University. https://www.gabrielamunozart.com/
Ammi Robles was born in Mexico, and raised in Agua Prieta, Sonora, a border town just a step away from the United States. Being presented with a border culture has allowed her to document life in both worlds through her artwork. Robles recently graduated from college in Arizona with an associate degree in communications. She currently works as a digital artist, performer, and photographer and aspires to pursue a career in acting and filmmaking. Her photography work has been showcased in Flagstaff, AZ, at the BORDER CROSS+ROADS exhibit featuring United States/Mexico Border Artists in Action, and her photographs were published by Yes! Magazine in the article “Border Wall Trumped by Art and Community.” Also, her short film Once Upon a Time en la Frontera was selected to be part of the screening “Muestra de Cine en la Frontera Sonora-Arizona.” As an English-Spanish interpreter, Robles has done work for organizations such as Alight (American Refugee Committee) and CAME (Migrant Shelter). Robles is a member and co-founder of a group of women artists from Sonora and Arizona called Las Fronterizas, where she participates as a creator, interpreter, coordinator, performer, and digital artist. https://www.ammirobles.com/
M. Jenea Sanchez was born and raised in Douglas, AZ/Agua Prieta, Sonora. After receiving her master of fine arts from Arizona State University in 2011, she returned to Douglas to pursue her career as an artist and educator. She is a fellow of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture’s Leadership Institute, a 2020–2021 NALAC Catalyst for Change Award recipient, a 2019–2020 Mellon-Fronteridades Creative Scholar at the UofA’s Confluence Center, and currently a faculty member at Cochise College in the Digital Media Arts Program. Sanchez’s work has been exhibited at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SmoCA), the University of Arizona Art Museum, The Latino Museum of History, Art, and Culture, The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, and the United States/Mexico border fence. She and her husband are the co-founders of Border Arts Corridor (BAC), a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit arts organization providing the borderlands community an immersive arts district through bi-national artwalks, workshops, performances, public dialogues, and artist residencies. BAC was awarded a Governor’s Arts Award in 2020 and has been featured in The New York Times for producing bi-national art installations and performances on the United States/Mexico border. http://mjeneasanchez.com/
Related Press Releases
Division of Labor in the press
Division of Labor: Women Shifting a Transnational Gaze press release featured on Broadway World.
Phoenix New Times included Division of Labor in its roundup of Valley art happenings on Jan. 28, 2021.