O P E N
S T O R A G E
b. 1951, United States
Pastel on paper
60 x 42 in.
Collection of The Bass
Gift of Eileen and Peter Norton
During the 1970s and early 80s, John Valadez focused on making art that elevated perceptions of the Chicano, challenging viewers with audacious images in order to evoke feelings of uneasiness. His earlier portraits focus on the pride of everyday people in an urban setting, often showing drama and tension, while the lack of background separates the sitter from other subjects on the streets in order to accentuate their unique individuality.
Fatima, a beautiful yet haunting portrait, holds a small pink ice cream cone in her left hand while also steadying the carried infant who is presumably beneath the quilted floral blanket. From the weight of her shoulder bag to her careworn, unsmiling face, viewers can sense her struggle yet feel her strength in her determination to juggle responsibility with small personal pleasures.