Artist: Dulce Soledad Ibarra
Exhibition: Manos de Oro
Media: Mixed media, video installation, sculpture
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Max L. Gatov Gallery East
About Dulce: Dulce is a senior at Long Beach and she is getting her BFA in sculpture. She first wanted to major in graphic design but decided that sculpting was more her thing. Her family is from Mexico but she was raised in Chino. Growing up, Dulce was embarrassed by her background. Her dad had hopes of becoming a lawyer when he crossed to the US but ultimately gave up his dream in order to save for the future plans. Dulce made this exhibition for her dad.
Formal Analysis: Around the gallery, you could see gardening tools covered in gold. The tools included a lawnmower, shears, a rake, and shovels. There were also brown bags of grass clippings and yard waste. There was also a video playing in the other room of her dad in his work uniform, working. At some point, her dad switches to Dulce. Or better put, Dulce is wearing her father’s work uniform and cutting away at a hedge.
Content Analysis: This exhibition is a reflection of how Dulce sees her dad’s hard work. As a child, Dulce had a hard time being proud of her family background. Her dad worked as a gardener, mowing other people’s lawn and working on yards. For some, this job can be seen as a poor man’s job since it requires a lot of physical labor. The significance of the gold is that it is a luxury in all cultures. Growing up, Dulce failed to realize that it was okay to come from a lower/middle class background. Her dads lifestyle is actually the real gold.
My Experience: This exhibition definitely touched me emotionally. I could relate to it so much. I came up from a lower middle class family. My mom didn’t work and my dad worked as a pizza delivery driver. I didn’t like to tell my friends that because everyone else’s parents were teachers or nurses or business owners. Walking through the gallery, I mostly felt sad. Dulce talked about something called survivors guilt. She said she feels bad now because her dad sacrificed so much to provide her with as much as possible and she hadn’t realized. I also feel the same way with my parents. My dad has been and still is working 60-80 hours a week and I’m scared I won’t be able to repay him for everything he’s done. This exhibition was just another reminder to appreciate my parents and everything they’ve done because they have been through hell and back.