Retablo for the Women of Juárez, 2011, Oil and enamel on metal, 36"x 24" (Collection of the Artist).
Marta Sánchez uses her retablo or narrative painting on metal to depict the violence against the women of Juárez. Working in a social commentary mode, she has the central figure looking at the viewer to ask why we continue to let this abuse happen? Drops of blood turn into unanimous eyes. Everyone knows about it but does nothing to stop it. There is an image of the Virgin of Guadeloupe to hear our prayer, the goddess Coatlicue to remind us of her endurance and strength, and on the bottom right, the worker most Americans are familiar with as the hired help.
This narrative is in the Mexican retablo format, a folkloric prayer painting. Sánchez asks this questions since so many young women of Juárez are often killed in pursuit of coming to America for freedom and a better life. Sánchez attempts to depict their reality that is so close to her community of friends and family in the Southwest and even beyond. Sánchez identifies with these women through cultural, gender, and through the aspect of respecting the quality life for all mankind. What affects them, affects us, socially and psychologically.
The rectangular composition becomes round in its circular motion of paint and outlines that represents the background as a globe, signifying this universal question. The figure is fenced in with large brown walls and trains that pass in the night. These wooden walls and trains encircle them and wrap the figures in this contained state where they struggle and are willing to take a high risks in hopes of escaping poverty.
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