Artist: Cintia Segovia Figueroa
Exhibition: Mexico Already Changed
Gallery: Max L. Gatov Gallery East
About the Artist:
Cintia was born and raised in Mexico City and did not come to the United States till about 6 years ago. Interestingly enough, Cintia has some Greek in here genes. She is a Graduate student at California State University, Long Beach. She is seeking to receive her MFA in Photography. Aside from being a student Cintia is also an instructor at Cal State Northridge where she has been teaching for about three years. She teaches introductory courses of Photography including digital photography. Through these courses she hopes to inspire students to make art something she wasn’t given from her parents as an undergraduate student. Cintia’s parents often denied her the opportunity to be Photography major as an undergraduate because they didn’t believe it would get her far in life. Eventually, her mother did begin to accept Cintia’s pursuit of photography when she began seeing all her success. Including displaying her artwork at the Museum of Latin American Art also known as MOLLA. Unfortunately, neither Cintia skills nor success have convinced her father to feel proud of her.
When walking into the Mexico Already Changed exhibition the room is dark, two videos are playing at the same time and a robot with a tiny Mexico flag is roaming the exhibition. The robot’s name “El Roboto” whom is searching around the exhibition for its next victim. El Roboto is asking questions like “Do you plan to practice polygamy?” “Are you an illegal alien?”, “Are you a member of the communist party?” and “Have you or someone you know committed acts of torture or genocide”. The first video, is of a young woman of nice attire who talks about her plans to leave her country of origin” The second video is troubling, the screen is pitch black but cheering, celebration, and excitement can be heard.
Cintia’s exhibition Mexico Already Changed was about a criticism of both the U.S and Mexico. According to Cintia, her inspiration came from not feeling welcome in the United States. She remembers applying for a visa multiple times as a student, a tourist and even as an immigrant. Unfortunately, her visa was denied those three times. Cintia also remembers the application process was also a difficult one; the questions that El Roboto is asking around the gallery are really questions that she was asked. She felt that United States without even knowing who she was or what she wanted to be already assumed she was a criminal. As Cintia put it, “ why does the U.S still have Cold War concerns? Of course I’m not a member of the communist party.” Through her exhibition she was trying to live the inspirations one cannot live in Mexico. This is emphasized in her first video, where the woman in the nice clothing that talks about her grandiose plans to leave Mexico. Her second video, the one that goes pitch black multiple times was based on the idea that Mexico and Mexican Presidents always build expectations but never deliver. As 1968 President, Gustavo Díaz Ordaz puts it, “Upwards and onwards.”
Synthesis/ My Experience
Mexico Already Changed was impactful given that I am from Mexican decent. I thought Cintia’s exhibition was about the sold out American Dream. Undocumented or documented people come to the U.S with dreams of having a better life and giving their generations to come a better future. The United States screams how its about freedom and diversity but the truth is that they don’t like change. I don’t deny that America is great, as Cintia pointed out but it definitely has room for improvement. Mexican immigrants are simply people put in the position where they have to work twice as hard to accomplish their dreams. Not only do they have to become American enough for Americans, but also they have to be Mexican enough to prove to other Mexicans that they are worthy enough to be a part of the Mexican culture. That’s where the struggle is, show Mexican immigrants go back to Mexico where they aren’t allowed to dream or stay in a country that gives unrealistic hope. Mexico already Changed to me was just about that how unwelcomed Mexican immigrants feel both at home and in the glorious country that the United States is supposed to be.