Write Back or Get Written Out

2015 by Jessica Sabogal

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Jessica Sabogal Artist Statement

I have known Angel, the subject of the poster, since I was 18. Together we attended UC San Diego’s Summer Bridge Program, which brings together folks of color before college to get a head start and meet each other. It was also very feelings-oriented—speaking out loud about our families and our histories for the first time. I’ll never forget how Angel talked about growing up knowing the violence of colonization and displacement that was part of her tribe’s history.
I recently spent a few days with her in San Diego where she talked about how she was receiving a PhD at UC Davis in the Native American Studies Department and had been documenting the stories of her people for the last five years. Her dissertation is a historical narrative of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin, and her research incorporates feminist and Indigenous methodologies through the use of archival research, analysis of secondary sources, and oral interviews.

I also have been reading Cherrie Moraga and get much validation from hearing her stories. I’m not even Mexican or Chicana, but it’s the closest I’ve got to reading about someone like me. Over the years in my art practice, I have been realizing the importance of documenting my experience as a first generation Colombian lesbian. If I’m not writing or painting about it, someone else will do it for me, and more often than not, I will get written out.

Other people that are not like us are deciding things for us: our histories, what gets passed down, what gets shown in the media, etc.— So this poster is about that. It urges us, as artists and thinkers and students, to speak out, to make a place for ourselves in history. To demand it. To show up. To not get written out.