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Feminist Art Profile: Mariana Castro de Ali

June 4, 2009

Issues like discrimination against gays and lesbians, violence against females, eating disorders caused by socially competitive environments, lack of social services for the lower classes, and others hurt me at a deep level. Art is my way of coping with all those issues. -Artist Mariana Castro de Ali (emphasis: mine)

Mariana Castro de Ali hails from Mexico (Ciudad Obregón) and immigrated to the U.S. (Bay Area) shortly after NAFTA was signed in late 1994. She uses her art as a vehicle to make powerful social statements such as addressing issues of immigration, violence against women, and victims of oppression. Often Mariana uses tampons as material for her art. For example, below is a piece entitled “Domestication” that uses tampons, corn leaves and plaster:

The artist wanted to make people question themselves, their unquestioning use of agrochemicals and the human losses that we are all suffering along with the erosion of the agricultural fields

The artist wanted to make people question themselves, their unquestioning use of agrochemicals and the human losses that we are all suffering along with the erosion of the agricultural fields

Why does Castro de Ali use tampons as the main material in her art? “Beautiful, dainty pieces made of cotton, thread and plastic, they go inside a woman’s body, they touch her on the inside, her most personal parts. And yet, they get disposed of as undesirable objects. When an object is so close to a woman, a relationship inevitably forms with that object — a love-hate relationship most of the time — but nevertheless a relationship” she says in an interview with Morgan Levey from the International Museum of Women. Another piece of art that explores the relationship of a woman and her body is called “Periods of Festival:”

"The piece is an abstract representation of a piñata and it is accompanied by an installation of tampons wrapped as candies and a stick. This piece intends to celebrate women, and at the same time, the stick represents the things that I wish we could beat out of our lives such as cancer, poverty, mental disorders, discrimination, violence, and others." -Mariana Castro de Ali

"The piece is an abstract representation of a piñata and it is accompanied by an installation of tampons wrapped as candies and a stick. This piece intends to celebrate women, and at the same time, the stick represents the things that I wish we could beat out of our lives such as cancer, poverty, mental disorders, discrimination, violence, and others." -Mariana Castro de Ali

Castro de Ali tries to celebrate but also critique womanhood in her art. She believes that in order to function as a society, we must respect the past and the present. In another piece entitled “True Colors,” Mariana uses tampons to make the gay flag to honor her gay friends and gay members of her family:

truecolors

For more about Mariana Castro de Ali, please go to her website here.

To read the full interview with Morgan Levey at the International Museum of Women, click here.

3 Comments
  1. Mercedes permalink
    June 10, 2009 11:18 pm

    She is awesome!
    I love her art…she is full of surprises!

  2. June 15, 2009 2:43 pm

    Amber Hawk Swanson’s Realdoll™ explore the interplay between repulsion, desire and surrender: http://bit.ly/17Z8vG

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