Looking through Shizu Saldamando's work at Tropico de Nopal Gallery-Art Space

By Adrian Arancibia
Published on LatinoLA: August 19, 2007


as i walked through the gallery, i let go of my wife's hands. we took our separate steps. we drove ourselves to look at the pieces. each with it's own image. the drawn textures that released so much reality that it seemed as if fingerprints were left on the walls. yes fingerprints. young fingerprints that no longer apologize for differ?ínce, for hybridity, sliding signifiers called identity and positionality. those fingerprints that no longer 'half' to explain. that wear or wore black. that listened or listen to brit-based rock popular in the eighties. and look our names are on the wall. indifferent, scared, vulnerable, angry and mostly alone. the images reflect our incapacity to express that what is on the other side. that side which the viewer sits on. the 'drama' caused by the outside. the marta who stands as if in pose for the camera or some girl or guy. i think of the parents who look past me. are they mine? yours? my wife's? intimate moments. spaces. garage doors.

what seems to me most fascinating is that critics refuse to see the politics of such important work. a work that signals presence. signaling a moment. a period of transition. wow. most might ask a transition of what. and yet if we look at the young man 'moz'ed as an image of stephen morrissey, we can trace precisely what the politics behind shizu's work evinces. it is a work that functions as an echo of the politics of the past. which like the fingerprints recalls a past existence. morrissey is an image from the post-knotting hill riots. rude boy rebellion. skinhead reaction and mod abstinence. and you, my friend, witnessed the everyday representation of the end of the british empire.

and yet, my wife and i are here. in southern california. at the beginning of the new millennium. we are here. are the topics so different? illegal immigration, migration and identification. billboards that today read "i don't need to show you no stinkin' appointment". but are we not watching the empire in decline? and what is saldamando's response? an echo of the generational shift. both reflecting catholic cultures in a protestant nation. both migrant. both children of migrants. both defying the old nation state. in a way that is seemingly imperceptible. challenging machismo with ambiguousness. challenging hope with reality and reality with hope. this is a world that today, most associate with decay. a decay of love, of relations, of the environment. and yes. here is shizu's work asking what do the parents think while look peering past us in some barbecue. life, death and post-death. these words and images are both the reflection and response of a generation. my generation. my generation's sens-i-bility.

adrian arancibia

SHIZU SALDAMANDO - Aug 4 - Sept 1, 2007
(New Work)
Tropico de Nopal Art Space
1665 Beverly Blvd.
(Echo Park) Los Angeles, CA 90026
Hours: Tues-Fri 12 - 4pm
Sat.1 - 5 pm and by appointment

About Adrian Arancibia:
A. Arancibia founding member of the Taco Shop Poets, writes for the SD Union Tribune, is working on his Lit Ph.D. at UCSD and teaches at Miramar Community College. Atacama Poems is his just released book (CityWorksPress).

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