• Virtual Opening Night: Friday, March 13, 2020
  • Tune in to WATCH PARTY: 6:45 PM to 9 PM on our social media channels
  • Closing Reception: April 25, 2020

Curated by Dr. Martina Ayala and inspired by the writings of Gloria Anzaldua, our 33rd Annual Sólo Mujeres Exhibition features 50 Nepantlera artists from the U.S. and Mexico. This exhibition explores the many manifestations of the “Coatlicue State” in Nepantla, with “Nepantleras” reclaiming sovereignty embracing life, death, and rebirth on their own terms.

Enjoy the Show!

Exhibition Theme: Coatlicue State

“Though we tremble before uncertain futures may we meet illness, death and adversity with strength, may we dance in the face of our fears.”
– Gloria Anzaldua

The theme for this exhibit is inspired by Coatlicue, the feminine deity that comes from Aztec mythology. Coatlicue derives from the Nahuatl language meaning “the one with the skirt of serpents.” The word for serpent is coātl. “Mother Goddess of the Earth who gives birth to all celestial things, ” “Goddess of Fire and Fertility,” “Goddess of Life, Death and Rebirth,” and
“Mother of the Southern Stars.”

This show brings together women artists, “Nepantleras” that embody what author Gloria Anzaldua described as the “Coatlicue State” a term used to describe the “internal whirlwind” which “gives and takes away life,” “invoking art,” and that is “alive, infused with spirit” (Anzaldua 68, 88-89). Like Anzaldua, the artists featured in this show use the powerful symbolism and myth of Coatlicue to articulate a type of identity conflict experienced by herself, Latinas, and women in general. To be in a “Coatlicue State” is to experience and engage in a life changing experience that disrupts the “smooth flow (complacency) of life and propels the soul to do its work, our disappointments, painful experiences out of which we make meaning and lead us in becoming more of who we are.” (68)

This is particularly noted among people who reside in lands where the dominant culture does not reflect the cultural traditions of their families, leading to an identity crisis between various cultures of their life. Coatlicue mother of life, death and rebirth, as well as Gloria Anzaldua’s definition provides a powerful term to describe the many aspects of women presented in this show reclaiming their sovereignty as women and honoring their sacred journey.

“Nepantlera” identified women and allies are invited to submit their work for consideration for the 33rd “Solo Mujeres” Exhibition entitled “Mujeres con Faldas de Serpientes y Talones de Aguila” (Women with Serpent Skirts and Eagle Talons) Curated by Dr. Martina Ayala.

Works Cited

  • Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands / La Frontera. Third Edition. Aunt Lute Books, 2007.
  • Online Etymology Dictionary retrieved 1-17-2014

General Artwork Themes Explored

Artwork submitted for consideration explores the following aspects of the feminine as inspired by the many manifestations of the “Coatlicue State.” “Nepantleras” reclaiming sovereignty embracing life, death and rebirth on their own terms.

Key Topics

  • The different experiences of women living through the “Coatlicue State.”
  • Femicide. Violence against women, missing and murdered women of color in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Overcoming illness through art. Healing and rebirth
  • Identity formation through sexuality
  • Embrace of all the stages of human development
  • Exploration of the duality in Coatlicue – life, death, rebirth
  • Community Healing of Trauma
  • Resilience and recovery after natural disasters, human and physical loss
  • Determination and strength of working-class women
  • Race, culture, immigration – honoring our sacred journey

This show will include special guest invited artists by the Curator, as well as those selected by the selection committee.

The exhibit will include community performances and artist talks, and events associated with show.

Curator: Dr. Martina Ayala

Dr. Martina Ayala is an award-winning filmmaker, recognized educator and community leader. She has curated exhibits in San Francisco and Los Angeles focusing on the Day of the Dead, gentrification, curanderismo and women.

Dr. Martina Ayala is an academic scholar activist that holds a Doctorate in International and Multicultural Education from University of San Francisco. Her life’s work has focused on Chicano film, spirituality, and issues related to education, inclusion, social justice, immigrants, people of color, family strengthening, resilience and trauma informed care.

Currently Dr. Ayala owns Martina La Latina Productions and provides professional consulting services, grant writing, event planning and concert promotion for various non-profits in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Mexico. She is an inspirational and transformative leader and coach; her work supports those who are seeking to discover their life purpose and personal truth.

Curator Statement

Dr. Martina Ayala, Curator
Dr. Martina Ayala’s comprehensive approach presents an exhibit that highlights the strength and resiliency of women in the various stages of their life.  Dr. Ayala’s hope is that this exhibit generates a critical discussion on the issues that impact women and their strength as they embark on a journey of self-healing and resiliency.  This exhibit aims to educate, engage, and celebrate women in all their stages of development.  The events connected to the exhibit are aimed at bringing a diverse group of women together to create, celebrate, discuss, and advocate for relevant issues impacting women in the contemporary world.


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