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‘Mamá Said’ asks us to look inward this Women’s History Month

Side-by-side photos of artwork show a mother cradling her infant child and a mother standing over her daughter.
Latino Arts Inc. / Facebook / Twitter

This past weekend, Latino Arts held the opening reception for its latest exhibition, “Mamá Said: A Reflection on Maternal Figures.” It was a deeply immersive experience, exploring the diversity of relationships we hold with maternal figures, as well as celebrating culture and resilience in honor of Women's History Month.

The exhibition reached far and wide, showcasing a variety of mixed-media artwork from local artists in the Latinx community. I pondered large paintings, tapestries, digital art and sculptural works. A pair of headphones enhanced the experience with short films and slam poems. The exhibition also explored familial relationships through time, covering everything from dreamlike representations of pre-birth to honest and heartfelt depictions of death.

Truthfully, I found the topic a bit challenging. Being adopted from birth, I’ve always held a nuanced view of family and motherhood. I was admittedly anxious that the works would only shine a light on the good that comes out of having a strong maternal bond.

On the contrary, while many of the works lauded mothers, aunts and grandmothers, the artists didn’t shy away from difficult conversations, and the reality of generational trauma and broken homes. In a stark back room tucked away in the United Community Center, I found myself deep in introspection, thinking about my own relationship with family and my struggles around feeling a sense of belonging.

You can celebrate Women’s History Month with a gallery tour and guided discussion this Wednesday, March 8, from 8:30-9:15 a.m. in English, and 9:30-10:15 a.m. in Spanish. The exhibition is accessible in both languages throughout its run and will be on view to the public through June 2.

Tickets and more information about the exhibition are available on the Latino Arts website.

Community Engagement & Membership Manager | Radio Milwaukee