MALA: Bad Women

Let us play an association game: if I say “English,” you probably think “Shakespeare.” If I say “impressionism,” you most likely think “Monet” or “Renoir.” If I say “Spanish female pop-rock singer,” your hips might points towards Shakira. And if I say “Latin female painter,” sadly, you probably could only mention Frida Kahlo. I say “sadly” because Kahlo is just the tip of a huge and lamentably ignored iceberg.

Latinas fall into a truly underrepresented demographic in the art and museum world by virtue of being both women and of Latin American origin. A recent survey of the permanent collections of 18 prominent art museums in the U.S. found that, out of over 10,000 artists, 87% are male, and 85% are white (Source).

MALA (Mujeres Artistas Latino Americanas, or Women Latin American Artists), a new project by designer and curator Gabriela Brown Perez, seems to be uncovering this iceberg, before it melts.

With a growing trend of Latin American artists in most types of visual arts, including fashion, performing arts, and music, MALA is pushing forward awareness of Latin American female artists by giving them a platform to both get introduced to other fellow Latina artists and gain exposure.

Inspired by many, including Estrellita B. Brodsky, Gabriela Brown, founder and producer of MALA, studied art herself in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and began this project in 2018 before completing her studies and graduating in December 2018.

MALA is an Instagram account that showcases the work of Latin American contemporary women artists, thus addressing two growing important topics in modern popular culture: the rise of female empowerment, and Latin American art. MALA aims to create community and awareness of talented Latina artists.

How can I contribute?

With the ambassador program, anyone can choose to nominate a Latina artist to be featured in the feed. Current ambassadors include many renowned names in the art industry, such as the acclaimed New York magazine art critic Jerry Saltz and writer, curator, and activist Kimberly Drew.

What does MALA aim to be tomorrow?

MALA has announced through social media that it aims to be a biennale in Quito, Ecuador, that showcases contemporary Latina artists.

Stay tuned . . .

Let us join MALA, in an effort to broaden international awareness and appreciation of art from Latin America.