“Because the truth is sacred what they have shamed, I will honor” site specific altar installation. Sculptures in stoneware and porcelain, photographs, fresh flowers, candles, 2018

Because the truth is sacred,

what they have shamed,

I will honor

This altar reclaims the rightful presence of the feminine within the divine.

Every day women hear language that dishonors their genitals and humiliates their sexuality. This language pervades society to the point that it is almost impossible to swear without attacking the female body.  Sex becomes a weaponized metaphor, where the penetrator harms the penetrated. From her first sexual experience, the language specifies that a woman is deshonrado.

The church is no safe harbor, with its embrace of the female, on a condition of impossibility, in a perpetual state of reproductive virginity. The woman is born guilty of so called original sin, she cannot enter the altar, receive communion during her period, or ascend to the level of the priesthood.

Thus, a woman finds herself in a bind, unable to have a sexuality without losing her honor. Unable to inhabit her body without danger.  

Violence against women is pervasive, often enacted through the genitals.The social stigma of rape from society is the second act of violence. In this paradigm of purity, female worth only depreciates in value, while male grows stronger with time, sexual adventures and the increased knowledge.

In this context, it comes as no surprise that the true anatomy of the clitoris, was found in 1998, 29 years after a man walked on the moon. Indeed, one might say that the clitoris has yet to be discovered as the true anatomy is still unknown to almost everyone, including doctors. The clitoris is equivalent in scale to the penis. Like an iceberg, most of the organ is internal. Like the penis, the clitoris is comprised of erectile tissue and an abundance of nerves, 8000 in the glans alone as compared with 3000 in the glans of the penis. Indeed, the clitoris and the penis are homologous organs, both originating from the same embryonic tissue. The clitoris, not the vagina, is the female sexual organ. All female mammals have a clitoris. It is the only organ that exists solely for pleasure.

By the logic of nature, pleasure is the cltitoris’ function and evolutionarily mandate.

If phallic can function symbolically, so can the clitoris. As a signifier, the clitoris, expresses a right to  human thriving, those actions beyond mere survival, the arts, intellectual pursuits, desire and pleasure. As a symbol, the clitoris demands dignity for those whose gender and sexuality has been weaponized against them, particularly women and queer communities.

To create this altar, I worked with the clay, the original medium of art. It felt necessary to explore this subject matter using this material to communicate a fundamental and primary truth of nature. With my formal art training in  photography, I had not touched clay since I was 11 years old. The process of working in clay was both exciting and humbling. The Zacatecas Cantera Rosada and the carvings on the facade of the Catedral Basílica de la Asunción de María de Zacatecas were the inspiration for my palette.

This altar is for all of our mothers and their mothers, mothers, mothers, mothers, mothers.

Installation views of Art is Love Made Public an exhibition at AP Gallery Zacatecas, Mexico. The exhibition was curated by Joaquin Trujillo and on view May 11 - July 9, 2018