This is late, but I did go to Crystal Galindo’s art exhibit.
The air was like a relentless hot breath and there was no air conditioning in the building where the art was displayed. As I looked at the paintings, all I thought at first was that I don’t feel unapologetic as a Black women who isn’t skinny. Because its still true that some people’s body types are less ridiculed and abused than others. I have been made to apologize in one way or another for not being the “right size” my whole life. When I looked at Crystal’s work, all I could think about is the legion of women who love their bodies and how I haven’t always felt like that. How I live in a fat-shaming, fatphobic environment. I am unloved. I don’t feel unapologetic.
Yet what I believe hasn’t changed. I’m still the twelve year-old girl in the tie-dye shirt who has never been near skinny and has never been skinny since who firmly believes that I am utterly lovable and worthy and someone out there sees me and loves exactly as I am and that person or people are the only ones who are acceptable. So in a way, I might as well be unapologetic. And I’m 100% on board with this:
Though faced with adversity and harsh critique, Crystal used her numerous self-portraits, body type exploration and focus on the Chicana experience to create her own artistic language. Inspired by the lack of representation of women of color in the media, Crystal’s work spotlights Xicanas in a positive, realistic light. Her latest series, “Dulceria” (Candy Store) uses Mexican candy, sweets, and culturally specific snacks to encourage women and femmes of color to shed the guilt that exists in our community when we practice self-indulgence and independence.
At the exhibit, I balked at the prices of the pieces on the walls; its not that they’re not worth it, its just that, well, never in my wildest dreams could I ever afford one to hang in my hovel. This kind of art, work, and spirit is important and I wanted to thank her for putting it into the world. I was disappointed that the artist wasn’t there. But my intention was to show my support and I tried to do that by showing up.
I should be able to afford one of her prints…