Explore Fiber is a collaborative website showcasing and exploring fiber as a fine art material.
September 15 to October 15, 2014 is National Hispanic Heritage month. It’s common in art education to raise awareness with our students when groups of artists are recognized and highlighted, so last week I featured Hispanic artists in my Artist of the Day videos (article about AoD videos begins on page 14 of pdf document in this link). Consuelo Jimenez Underwood was one of the artists I featured. Her work is grounded in fiber traditions: weaving, quilting, embroidery, stitching. She also centers her work around immigration issues, and that issue is very much alive in my classroom. I never know which of my students or their parents are legal or illegal, but it matters not because I see them all as young people wanting to make a way for themselves in Texas, and to create a better life. Consuelo talks about the quilt she made featured in this post that is inspired by signs that were put up close to the border warning motorists of people crossing the highway, just as there are signs warning of animal crossings. She realized that by making & posting these signs, people were being represented as animals. We watched her video in class, and talked about the political nature of the issue, but acknowledged that ALL people are human beings and all want the same things: love, safety, respect and dignity. Perhaps entering Consuelo’s work, the viewer can begin to separate the politics from the humanity of the issue, and work towards a better world.