Jazmin Urrea

I grew up in South Central Los Angeles, a disadvantaged area, a food desert and commonly referred to as the “hood.” I have shopped for groceries at liquor stores, currently work at a preschool in the “ghetto,” and spend my days around the projects. Growing up as a woman of color in South Central complicates things even further. In a chauvinistic male-dominated culture – my upbringing was centralized in keeping the man of the house happy. My sisters, mother, and my needs always came second and still do despite the demanding plight that everyday life lays heavily on the women of my community. My surroundings influence me, they form my identity and practice, serve as subject matter and inspiration.

While attending California State University, Long Beach for my undergraduate studies, I began to think critically about my perceptions of race, family, and upbringing, as well as what it all meant to be at the nexus of a community with a high poverty rate, unemployment, and inaccessibility to healthier foods. I started to utilize Photography as a tool to try to understand the internal as well as external factors that shape a woman of color’s identity. This action lead me to turn the camera towards myself and use myself as a performer to challenge the cultural pressures Latina’s and women face.

In my practice, I examine symbols and totems prevalent in Latino communities. I incorporate a broad range of mediums and familiar tropes in Latino culture to question negative stereotypes that are still predominant in society. I also use humor and the absurd as a disruptor to critique, perceptions, and preconceived notions people have about coming from low-income neighborhoods. These themes are portrayed through, but not limited to, autobiographical events, junk food, drawing, performance, self-portraiture, video, sculpture, and installation.