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Object Name: El Arbol de la Muerte: Maquilando Mujeres (The Tree of Death: Factory Women)
Artist: Veronica Castillo Hernández (b. 1967, Izúcar de Matamoros, Puebla, Mexico; lives and works in San Antonio, Texas, United States)
Place of Origin: San Antonio, Texas, United States
Dimensions: H: 87.0 cm, W: 70.0 cm, D: 29.0 cm (H: 34.3 in, W: 27.6 in, D: 11.4 in)
Medium/Materials: Ceramic, paint, wire
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Thomas Wortham.
Accession Number: X2004.20.1
The ceramic Tree of Life is a Mexican popular art tradition and embodies centuries of accumulated symbolism. Trees using death imagery may be placed on Day of the Dead altars to memorialize loved ones. In Tree of Death: Factory Women, Veronica Castillo Hernández creates a visual elegy for more than 400 young women and girls who have been brutally murdered since 1993 in Cuidad Juárez on the Mexican border near El Paso, Texas. Sadly, U.S. and foreign-owned border factories and the press have done little to investigate these crimes, and today the murders continue and remain unsolved. Castillo Hernández’s compelling work is a poignant reminder of the violence that has devastated a community and a moving tribute to the innocent victims of these heinous crimes. It also demonstrates the power of popular art to expand beyond its traditional meaning and to bring public attention to this tragedy.
Source: Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006.
See also: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.