Where are they now? Updates from Sandra Fernandez, Crossings, Mojándose (2016)

“Where are they now?” is a new series, following the recent work of artists who have been displayed in the Doug Adams Gallery over the years. This is the seventh and final post in the series. Thanks for reading along!  

Master Printmaker Sandra C. Fernandez was the final artist to show her work in the old location of the Doug Adams Gallery. Her 2016 exhibition showcased a series of embellished prints, dealing with the theme of borders. By focusing on the objects left behind by those crossing the Rio Grande, Sandra’s work encouraged engagement with immigration and other social justice issues.

The Northern Triangle (2018) silkscreen, 22 x 30

Most recently since working with CARe, Sandra has completed a residency in East L.A. at Self Help Graphics & Art. This studio fosters Chicana/o & Latinx narratives in printmaking and the arts through providing access to space, mentors and training. Sandra was able to share her talent and printmaking techniques with the general public, and the outcome of the residency was the print The Northern Triangle. Dealing with the recent news about unaccompanied minors migrating to the U.S. from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, this print is formed of several layers.

Completing the second layer

The writing on the back layer comes from a manuscript in El Códice Mendoza, a 14th century Aztec codex documenting conquests, rulers and daily life. The rosaries in the foreground are an allusion to a previous installation piece, Crossing El Rio Grande: Homage to the Unidentified. The young child at the center of the print is sitting inside a cardboard box, a conscious decision made by Sandra to draw attention to the psychological devastation that can occur in children who cross the border alone. Sandra tells me that child migration from Central America is a theme she has long wanted to explore and is grateful for the opportunity provided by Self Help to dive into this difficult topic.

Sanctuary of Tears (2018) bullet casings, fabric, paper, beads

As well as creating and teaching, Sandra has been a part of several exhibitions over the years. She is currently exhibiting in the show Forward Ever, Sacred Ground & Sovereign Space at the Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn, NY. Curated by Monica O. Montgomery, this contemporary art exhibit features work by women artists of color as a way to explore creative resilience that seeks to reclaim sovereign spaces. Sandra is exhibiting two works in the show, one of which is the large-scale installation piece, Sanctuary of Tears. Originally created for Disillusionment: Perspectives Beyond, held at the Taller Boricua Gallery in East Harlem, this mixed media piece references the appalling violence that seems to exist everywhere we look. Sandra says she was particularly influenced by the school shooting in Florida that happened in February of this year, which can be seen in the bullet casings used to create the center panel of the artwork. As with her work on migration across the U.S./Mexico border, Sandra is in this piece focused on the plight of those who are left behind and the sorrow and loss they are burdened with.

Sam Z. Coronado: Maestro, líder, promotor y querido amigo (2017) silkscreen, thread drawing, blind embossment

In 2017, as part of Consejo Grafico (The Graphic Council), a national Latinx organization of talleres (Master Printmakers), Sandra contributed to a joint portfolio of nineteen prints, paying homage to influential printmakers. The works were displayed in the group show, La Huella Magistral: The Majestic Impression, curated by the visual artist Nitza Tufiño and held at the Taller Boricua Gallery. Sandra chose to honor the Austin-born activist, educator, painter and printmaker Sam Z. Coronado, founder of the Serie Project, a non-profit organization promoting the work of Latinx artists. This print is another example of her unique style, building up many layers of meaning into one cohesive whole.

Nasty Women are Loving Mothers (2017) silkscreen, crochet and thread drawings

The final recent piece Sandra shared with me is the embellished print, Nasty Women are Loving Mothers, created in 2017 as part of the national outcry against the current administration. The central figure wears the iconic “pussy hat”, here crocheted directly onto the print. Displayed at Frogman’s Print Workshop in Omaha, NE, this print was part of a show called Nasty Women: A Viral Call for Female Solidarity.

Sandra leading a workshop at Self Help Graphics & Art in East L.A.

Sandra continues to teach. In Fall 2018 she will be instructing a mixed class of undergraduate and graduate students in the Fine Arts program at Hunter College, NY.

Thank you, Sandra, for taking the time to update us with your recent projects! And thank you, to everyone who has been following this series. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about the work CARe artists have completed since their time displaying with us. Stay tuned for more features on the blog!

by Lydia Webster

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