Artist: Cintia Segovia Figueroa
Exhibition: Mexico Already Changed
Media: Installation, Mixed-Media
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery East
CSULB graduate Cintia Segovia Figueroa is working toward her MFA degree in the school of Art’s Photography program. Before coming to CSULB, she attended Tec de Monterrey where she studied mass communications. Her aspiration for photography came to her as a child in her hometown of Mexico City, Mexico when she was given her 35mm camera. In addition to photography, she has developed film-production skills as she worked on a television station. She didn’t come to America until six years ago and since then she has learned English, became a student again, and landed a job teaching photography at Cal State Northridge.
Cintia’s art installation contained two videos projected on separate walls and a little robot roaming the gallery’s floor. As you walk in, your initial focus is brought to the video projected right in front of you. It starts off with projecting the statement, “Mexico Already Changed” followed by, “Upward and Onwards” and “We Did It” while play patriotic music in the background. The second one, has the artist portraying herself as a Mexican elite while discussing her plan to get out of the country. The robot “EL Roboto” blurts out stereotypical or immigration questions when it senses something in front of it in order to seem like it is directing its dialogue to the crowd. It is important to keep in mind that Cintia puts forth her sarcastic and witty personality in all three parts.
Mexico Already Changed is based on Figueroa’s perspective on Mexico and America. In regards to the first video, Mexico built up a façade of being renewed and improved by advertising that it has “changed” and is moving “upward” toward greatness when in reality it isn’t. The idea behind “El Roboto” was to represent how robotic and systematic the process to becoming a citizen in America is. For instance, when Cintia got her student visa, she was asked almost the same series of questions that they asked her when she got her green card. At the same time, she felt like no one who was part of the system were welcoming; thus, further connecting the relationship between robotic system and citizenship process.
Cintia Segovia Figueroa’s art was overall very moving because of the amount of truth put in it. The idea that Mexico is improving is such a false statement and it was addressed in a way that could get people reevaluating their perspective on Mexico. For instance, issues like classism are still not fixed. In Mexico, there is poverty, extreme poverty, and the rich. There is almost no middle class and that can be easily seen by simply driving around Mexico. In addition, while talking to Cintia, she mentioned how she was able to avoid much discrimination compared to darker skinned Mexicans simply because her skin is fair. With the addition of blue eyes, I am in the same boat as Cintia, but I never once thought of how my life could be different if the pigment of my skin was browner. It really made me put myself in the position of those Mexicans who have it harder than me and I am grateful for that new perspective.