Artist: Dulce Soledad Ibarra
Exhibition: Manos De Oro
Gallery: Max Gatov Gallery East
Media: Mixed-Media Installation
About the Artist
Ibarra is an undergraduate student at Cal State Long Beach, who seeks to receive her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Sculpture. Ibarra chose sculpture because she believes that there is a lot that can be done with it. She admits that she wants to go to graduate school but has not really looked into it. She does however know that that she wants to go to grad school away from California in hopes of as she described, “gong away for a bit. Ibarra isn’t only an undergrad student she is also a community giver! She works for non-profits that teach children about art, a privilege she didn’t have growing up. Ibarra enjoys working at the non-profits because she feels that kids should feel inspired to do art. But most importantly to make art accessible for lower income neighborhoods who get denied that right in school because through art they can also learn their history. For fun she likes to binge watch on Netflix or simply have a good time out with family and friends. She also likes doing Zines, because it’s been she can release her creative side. Her favorite food is Thai food but also loves her mom’s food. She argues that no one can cook like her mother.
When walking into Ibarra’s exhibition it smells like freshly trimmed trees. There is a video of a man trimming rose bushes. The very popular Mexican song, “Mi Viejo” by Piero De Benedictis is playing in the background. There is are yard tools covered in gold, including a lawn mower, a chainsaw, and what look to be car parts. Each piece on top of grass.
Manos de Oro, to Ibarra was about the admiration that she has for her father’s hands. Her admiration began when she learned that her father’s work gave her the privilege to be where she is now. At first Ibarra admits, that she was embarrassed of what her dad did for a living because at the end of the day he was only the gardener. A trauma that haunted her at the schools she went to in Norco because everyone laughed at her because of where she came from. While she felt all this embarrassment her father felt all this pride in his work because he knew he was doing it for his 6 kids. But after maturing a bit she too also takes pride in everything her father gave up for her and how hard he worked for her. She choose to cover many of the item in gold to represent the significance of value she now sees her father’s work had. The gold was also to represent the admiration she now feels, because they gave her “generational survival skills”. Ironically she says that both her father and her are allergic to gold jewelry.
From the moment I walked into the exhibition I felt nostalgia. And after reading the artist statement I began to cry. I had never felt so connected to an exhibition as I did to Ibarra’s. I felt such a strong connection because coming from immigrant parents I felt that as a child I always under appreciated what my dad did. To me he was solely a loser, a mechanic, and a construction worker but because then I didn’t realize how much value his work really had. It took literally half of my college path and seeing how much he’s aged to appreciate all he’s done for my sisters and me. At one point, I remember asking him to go wash his greasy hands because that was embarrassing and they were dirty. But just as Ibarra, I see that those greasy hands are worth so much more than my untouched, unlived hands are. His hands too are worth gold.