Erin Currier

Leticia y Andrea

Mixed Media on Panel, 60"h x 48"w, Item No. 9616,

Leticia y Andrea are Uruguayan street sweepers whom I met in Montevideo-- during one of my extended stays in Argentina. The portrait was part of a large series of portraits of women: workers, vendors, mothers, organizers, etc.; titled Miss World.  Of the series, Professor Dr. Nathalia Jaramillo, wrote:

Miss World introduces us to the sensual, laboring, spiritual, and defiant bodies of women, whose reflections often remain buried in the layered terrain of the collective imaginary.

The women of Miss World are the everyday citizen-subjects who labor and love against the social backdrop of economic and personal exploitation. In this new series, Erin has provided a powerful counter-story to the Eurocentric concept of a ‘grand slam beauty pageant.’ In stark contrast to the constructions of female beauty that emphasize a withering away of body and mind as the universal symbol of womanhood, Erin's female subjects portray the politically embodied subjectivity of women at recurring moments in their daily lives.  There is no push to crown any woman queen in Miss World; there is a different alchemy in motion in this series.  

The layers of meaning embedded within Erin’s art, through her use of ‘trash’ and mixed collages that create powerful landscapes of the women she paints, invite us to question the ‘other’ universal themes and economic and political relations that bring together resisting/luchadora women around the world.  The portraits caution us to reconsider the corpus of symbolic landmarks that we use collectively to determine our location in time and space, to think anew about the effects of patriarchy, the economy and consumerism in our globalized society, and to open our minds to the ordinary acts of everyday social struggle.