Archived here are nearly eight hundred emails about "Our Lady." I began receiving them when "Our Lady" digital print was on exhibition in Cyber Arte: Tradition Meets Technology at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico from February 25 through October 28, 2001.

I continue to receive emails about this print, and will update at some point. I archive emails here using my own resources because I feel that this is an important debate.

Scroll down for more emails. Click on date to access entire email. Once there, click back button to return here.

Our Lady Emails 2013

• hi alma, i'm a fine art photographer and hip-hop musician and i just wanted to tell you how much i absolutely LOVE your piece 'our lady' -- i didn't know that it had caused controversy. how silly. some people don't know great art when they see it. but i do. and that piece is classic, timeless, current, cutting edge, alive, honest, amazing!!! my sister, jennifer guglielmo, who is a history professor at smith college, has a print of it hanging in her home, and i always admire it every time i see it. so beautiful.

just wanted to let you know that we both think your work is amazing.

i'm thinking about doing a reinterpretation of the guadalupe via photo collage for a series i'll be exhibiting this june here in northampton, mass where we live.
well, keep up the great work. all that controversy does bring your work more attention...which can be a good thing. but i'm sure it gets exhausting too. thank god for artists like you courageous enough to share your vision, no matter the knuckleheads who have no idea what true expression and great art are all about.
abundant blessings, Mark Guglielmo (01/06/2013)

Our Lady Emails 2011 • Oakland Museum of California • University College Cork, Ireland (72)

• This is terrible what you are doing for attention. You should be ashamed of yourself. God forgive you. --Christina (10/18/11)

•Thank you for your wonderful visions of Our Lady -- and for your courage in the face of controversy. I blogged about the latest blasphemy charges over your exhibit at the Irish university June 23-25, and sent a letter of support. I also encouraged my blog readers to send letters of support, and at least six of them did.--KittKatt (06/27/11)

•Human garbage and sewer slime. To desecrate the image of the Virgin Mary is beyond belief. This isn't art. It's disgusting and repulsive.--Mickey Mathis (06/25/11)

•We would like to know why such an image was allowed to be exhibited when I’m sure it was apparent that this image was blasphemous and disrespectful to the Mother of God and that it would offend the religious faith of believers.--Mary Doherty (06/25/11)

•When university 'presidents' and 'professors' don't know the difference between blasphemy and art it's nigh high time they were given their walking papers! --Caitriona Connolly (06/25/11)

•Here is another letter of support -- from a gay artist. Many people are supporting you and your vision of Our Lady!--JesusInLoveInfo (06/24/11)

•and how it might spark a case under Ireland's new blasphemy law.--Dave Ricks (06/24/11)

•Well done to the university for taking the decision to display the work. This is about freedom.--Brian Melaugh (06/24/11)

•there is overwhelming support for your exhibition in Ireland despite what the church hierarchy and conservative politicians say.--Ciarán Ferrie (06/24/11)

•The depictions which you have organised for display are grossly offensive, blasphemous and repugnant to the beliefs of citizens and taxpayers who fund UCC.--David Hegarty (06/24/11)

•I am disturbed that your Department finds it acceptable to offend a core element of Catholic faith.  This is not acceptable in an academic institution which should promote a liberal respect for people's deeply held devotional practises.--Daniel Pyburn (06/24/11)

•It is rare for Ireland to host a conference in this area and the quality of the scheduled speakers is pretty impressive - I did my PhD in Austin Texas (although in a different area) and am familiar with some of the speakers.--Brendan Guilfoyle (06/24/11)

•They CLAIM to speak for ALL Catholics, ALL Christians, when they're really just a TINY minority of reactionaries who try to be "even more Catholic than the Pope" (which is tough to do w/ the current Bishop of Rome, but somehow they succeed).--JC Fisher (06/23/11)

•What little I can see of your work online (which I first encountered PZ Myers' blog "Pharyngula") is gorgeous!--Michael Swanson, Potland, Iregon (06/23/11)

•Far from seeing blasphemy in the work that Ms. Lopez and others present, I see a deeper and -- yes, PURER -- understanding of the meaning of Mary as the mother of GOD MADE HUMAN. --Trudie Barreras (06/23/11)

•Please search your soul and retract this picture from your portfolio. Satan has enough power and ugliness in this world already, please do not add your eternal soul to his list of names that will forever burn in pain and unhappiness.--Ava, Ave Maria Shop (06/23/11)

•I grew up in an extremely Catholic family, but consider my sense of spirituality to be housed well outside the "machine" facade of organised religion. The more you see how women are ostracised from active inclusion in religion, and the editing out of certain bibles deemed unfit, and the almost non existent knowledge of Asherah (whom I only recently discovered myself), it really opens your eyes to the "organisation".--Claire Blennerhasset (06/23/11)

•I am a Unitarian and a Wiccan, and a fan of, which supports LGBT spirituality and the arts. Thank you for showing the work of this brave artist who is re-envisioning the sacred in life-giving ways. Queer sacred images are needed now because conservatives are using religious rhetoric to justify discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.--Yvonne Aburrow (06/23/11)

•Our Lady of Guadaloupe is of great intellectual significance to catholic
christians because She was manifestly pregnant in this apparition.
This is against a background of a child sacrifice religion at the time
when male children had their hearts ripped out and offered to the 'Sun
God'. --Logical Calculus (06/23/11)

•While I believe that foreign students should be welcome in Ireland, and should be free to celebrate their own culture, they most definitely should not be welcome to or permitted to insult this country, its people and the religion that the majority of its people practice.--Rory O'Hanlon (06/23/11)

•The connection between destructive embryo research now taking place at UCC and the blasphemous representation of Our Lady of Guadalupe on display in the O'Rahilly building is telling. The black sash on this traditional image of Our Lady represents that she is with Child.--Fr. Eamonn McCarthy BE, County Cork (06/23/11)

•I just wanted to offer my support for what is obviously a difficult week for Hispanic Studies. I have a margin of an idea of what you are going through as I am recieving a lot of calls this week from so called "christians" in relation to the exhibition.--JP Quinn, Head of UCC Visitors' Centre, University College Cork (06/23/11)

•I have spent the better part of my adult life studying and meditating on the word of God. It has also been through prayer and faith that I have been able to establish a relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ that is strong, healthy and free of guilt, shame, condemnation and oppression. For me, the image of “Our Lady” symbolizes the strength and beauty that God gave and intended for women. After peeling away so many falsehoods, I found this to be personally true for myself and the image of “‘Our Lady” stands as a symbol of that truth for me. --Lindsey Haley, Inglewood, California (06/22/11)

•Some denounce her art as blasphemy because it differs from traditional images. Others, myself included, experience it as a blessing that enhances Christian faith by embodying God's wildly inclusive love for all. Lopez is healing the divide between sexuality and spirituality.--Kittredge Cherry, Founder of and Author of "Art that Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More" (06/22/11)

•I would like to express surprise and disappointment on hearing of the UCC Hispanic Dept.'s inclusion of Alma Lopez's presentation in next weekend's conference.--Rosemary Watters (06/22/11)

•I have been a student at UCC since 2002 and am completing my PhD this year at age 28. I did not pay postgraduate fees to UCC to help sponsor such events.--Jonathan Murphy (06/21/11)

•The numerous articles, books, theses, dissertations, art exhibitions, and conferences, coming from a variety of academic fields, and which have been focused on, or inspired by, Alma Lopez’s work attest to its immeasurable artistic, cultural, political, intellectual, and academic value.--Cristina Serna, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara (06/21/11)

•I am lawyer, a practicing Catholic (I am an Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister in my parish of St. Benedict in Montebello, California) and I am a collector of Chicano art of Los Angeles (I have several works by Alma Lopez). In those various capacities I have had several opportunities to ponder the questions posed by Our Lady on numerous occasions and with extensive knowledge of the different ways that this sort of work of art may be interpreted. I have looked into the legal issues and have attended many discussions on censorship, artists’ rights, religious freedom and catechistic rules. But most of all I have prayed on the matter of this particular work as this is not the first time that I have been asked to weigh in on this issue. I cannot in good conscience find a reason to believe that Our Lady is blasphemous, either within the religious definition contained in Church teachings and canon law, or within the meaning of the Irish Blasphemy law as I understand it.--Armando Durón (06/21/11)

•Blasphemous? It would be blasphemous to ban their work and the work of their collesgues from your conference. This is art. Provocative art, of course. One of the goals of art is to provoke conversation, and this has been accomlished quite nicely. If you take it a step further it will reflect poorly on University College Cork and its Hispanic Studies Department.-- Tom Miller, Adjunct Research Associate, Latin American Area Center, University of Arizona, Tucson (06/21/11)

•Please consider the original context of the art created by Alma Lopez and it is not blasphemous. It expresses the strength and identity of Chicanas and draws on the power of Guadalupe as a source of contemporary female empowerment.--Karen Mary Davalos, Chair and Associate Professor, Chicana/o Studies, Loyola Marymount University (06/20/11)

•The United States group calling itself America (sic) Needs Fatima sounds a call for censorship. While I appreciate your nation's endeavor via blasphemy laws to prevent intentional outrage by some crowd of offended individuals, Lopez' work, and that of other artists of the Lupe motif, honors Our Lady. Mary / Lupe / Tonantzin are women, mothers. The Lupe aesthetic encourages people to understand their own humanity through the womanhood of the symbols. That is no cause for outrage. That is reason for celebration that, through these works of art, people gain an enlightened, enhanced comprehension of Spirit, symbol and humanity.----Michael V. Sedano (06/20/11)

•I hear you have received much protest correspondence regarding the upcoming conference and the exhibition of Lopez's work. It is sad and disappointing that some people think there is something obscene or blasphemous about her art work. In Our Lady Lopez honors Our Lady of Guadalupe and all women by imagining Jesus' mother in a way that highlights the femaleness and sacredness we all share. It is beautiful and liberative, not obscene or blasphemous.--Xochitl Alvizo, Doctoral Student, Practical Theology, Boston University Schoolf of Theology (06/20/11)

•Furthermore, for me, an art historian whose scholarship focuses on Hispanic
Catholic religious art, this latest attempt at suppression is eerily
reminiscent of centuries of Inquisition control of the arts. This piece is
not blasphemous or pornographic. It is not ³grossly abusive or insulting in
relation to matters held sacred by any religion;² nor is its intent and
result ³outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that
religion² (quotations taken from Irish Blasphemy Laws). It simply
represents an artist¹s attempt to humanize the Virgin Mary, to understand
the importance of the Virgin Mary in her own life and in the lives of other
Chicanas. Conversely, it is a work that attempts to detect the divine within
all women. As a person of faith, a Chicana, and a scholar, I find it to be
extremely moving. I also find it to be a testament to the power of art to
move people.--Charlene Villaseñor Black, Associate Professor, Department of Art History and César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies, University of California, Los Angeles (06/20/11)

•My opinion is that it has taken the Catholic Church many centuries to incorporate new, ever-inclusive policies and practices, but that once the practice and principle of accepting all our humanity is at play, then we must allow multiple voices and perspectives to be heard. Shutting down these voices is as dangerous to freedom, liberty, and pluralism as anything from our difficult past, whether speaking of the Holocaust, the Inquisition, or slavery, all of which I think of as practices that derived from people assuming control over other human beings and judging rightness or rights without respect for human dignity or human rights.--Professor Deena J. González, Ph.D., Department of Chicana/o Studies, Loyola Marymount University (06/20/11)

•I think people should know the truth about the Catholic faith!!! NOT a bunch of lies like this book is.--Anonymous, A Roman Catholic (06/19/11)

•I am looking forward to reading your new book on the Our Lady controversy. My dissertation includes a section on the event. I am a PhD student in anthropology at UCSC. Are you still in the Bay area? I would be honored to interview you.--Aimee (06/19/11)

•This painting really make feel some very deep about chicano art when I saw it many year ago. I really liked it a lot. You were the one that make feel to work with the concept of the virgen of Guadalupe as comun point in chiacano culture and mine.--Eduardo Diaz (06/19/11)

•Sin embargo, tengo una pregunta, si no deseas ser ofensiva, si es válido lo que expresas, si el arte debe ser una manera de manejar emociones y presentar el mundo, si whatever... ¿porqué la comunidad LGBT se indigna tanto y acusa de tantas cosas cuando alguien se atreve a publicar cualquier cosa que levemente manifieste un dejo, un roce de crítica? Conste, no estoy diciendo que acepte la homofobia ni nada de eso, es pregunta, ¿porqué? En cambio, ¿porqué sí se atreven a, ya no digo rozar, sino manosear lo que otros consideramos sagrado? --Laura Gómez, Mexico (06/19/11)

•I'm a great admirer of the concept of academic freedom, freedom from censorship, freedom of speech and all that it entails but I think it's wrong to insult the deeply held religious convictions of even a tiny minority.--Pat Twomey (06/17/11)

•The University would do well to consider whether it incurs obligations in this matter in the light of the legislation in Ireland prohibiting blasphemy. --Maurice O'Brien (06/16/11)

•Sin embargo, tampoco me parece su obra de arte tan irreverente como mis
buenos amigos de "America needs Fatima" me la habían puesto: me parece
que tiene sentido del humor y elegancia y que Nuestra Señora tanto
desde su Casita del Tepeyac como desde el Cielo sonreirá complacida
ante tan divertida gracia.--Gonzalo Fernández Hernández, Área de Conocimiento de Historia Antigua, Valencia (06/16/11)

•You are one sick chick--Ed Wade (06/16/11)

•The department has been inundated with emails protesting the conference because of your images and book.--Niamh McNamara (06/16/11)

•Your image does nothing to indicate her beauty and magnificence. Please consider how you might not de-construct the original image from Heaven but how you might give credence to its message. Use your creativity to give honor to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Through your works you might depict the precious lives of the unborn/newborns/ she sought and still seeks to rescue from the sin of child sacrifice/ abortion.--Elizabeth Finnegan (05/21/11)

•As a scholar of Chicana art, feminist expression, and an expert on Guadalupan imagery, I am confident that Our Lady will enter the art historical record as one of the most important pieces of Chicana feminist art in the 20th century.--Karen Mary Davalos, PhD Yale University, Author of Yolanda M. López, (UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press with distribution by University of Minnesota Press, 2008 (05/01/11)

•I am a Practical Theology PhD student at Boston University and have included Lopez's work in papers I have written about the significance of Mary for women. I think her creative and courageous art will lead us to new horizons in our theology.--Xochitl Alvizo (04/28/11)

•Alma Lopez' portrayal of La Lupe as a woman pays tribute to something religious nuts wish they did not understand, but they do: the vehemence of their protests is inversely proportional to their quotient of Faith.--Michael Sedano (04/27/11)

•I want to thank you for exhibiting the powerful and dynamic art piece "Our Lady" by Alma Lopez. Because of this distinctive work of art and Alma's lectures on the subject, I now view Our Lady of Guadalupe as a Latina role model for the 21st century; strong, proud, determined, a super hero for all people. I am proud of Ms. Lopez for creating this piece and opening up our eyes and our hearts.--Monica Palacios, Writer/Performer (04/26/11)

•I saw your brief write-up on but i couldnt tell if you were for or against the exhibit....?--Steven Young (04/26/11)

•Using the Virgin of Guadalupe to make yourself "known" is a quick and dirty way to do it.
Are you a dirty person? if not, this is the only impression I have of you from what you do...--Eric Sosa (04/26/11)

•What can be said to a person who has decided to take on the Divine?
Only, I will pray that your heart will soften to the love of the Virgin Mother and the holy Spirit will seep in and transform your angst and rebellion to peace and adoration.--Terri Ayash (04/26/11)

•Senora Lopez, usted es una persona digna de lastima. Usted no sabe lo que esta haciendo usando a la Madre de Dios para satisfacer los propositos de su podrida mente--Gloria Godoy (04/26/11)

•Very offensive art to all those who love and hold Our lady of Guadalupe close to our hearts. Are there no other subjects to draw on except the sacred ones? So what happened to The Da Vinci Code, is it still relevant? How many churches are full of people who worship God and venerate Our Lady inspite of Dan Brown. What has happened to him except grow rich. Is he happy? Are you happy with your art work that offends so many? What is your future going to be like?.Will this sacrilegeous work bring you happiness and peace?--Usuario (04/26/11)

•Below is the text-I have not read your book but I would gather such an image would offend many-as a writer myself i am showing you this which I am sure you are aware of as the Book itself is a response to the original protests--Robert Guida (04/26/11)

•This is against my CATHOLIC belief. It is so sad that you would think this is something good. "Our Lady" is the Blessed Mother of Jesus. You should watch the Passion of Christ. My and your God loves you and forgives you for you know not what you are doing.
I do not want your Lupe love or your goddess blessing. I will pray for you. Please stop this blasphemy against our Blessed Mother.--Marlys (04/26/11)

•Acerca de tu obra, no dudo porque ha creado tantos sentimientos de rechazo, especialmente porque asi como tu misma lo dijiste te criaron catolica.....sinembargo eso no significa que puedas traspasar las barreras del respeto poniendo a nuestra Señora en posicion de burla en lugar de reverencia.--Yda Jimenez (04/25/11)

•Mensaje que quiero enviarle se debe a mi indignación que siento por su persona, tanto más que Ud. siendo una mujer Mexicana con raíces latinas y preparada según su CV , debería de saber muy bien cuáles son los limites de respeto al culto religioso que se tiene que tener.--Bruno Kordic, Monterey, NL, Mexico (04/25/11)

•I must confess that I was ignorant of your work until I received an email from America Needs Fatima encouraging me to send an email to the Oakland Musuem, where you are currently showing, urging them to close this exhibit.--Delia Batalla (04/17/11)

•This work, like so many others by Chicana women is a loving tribute to the
love of women of color for themselves and each other that follows the
mandate to love others as one's self. Of course, this is my own
interpretation, but I also wish to point out that to attack and interpret
this image by Alma Lopez in a scandalized way raises the question of why
it should be offensive to anyone when an artist, non-ironically, places
objects within halos that signify divine love?--Laura E. Perez, Associate Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies; Core Faculty, Doctoral Program in Performance Studies; Affiliated Faculty, Department of Women's Studies and Center for Latin American Studies, University of California, Berkeley (04/16/11)

•Even though you have shown the most vulgar display of Our Beloved Lady of Guadalupe, you are still loved by God--although I pray that you will one day endure His mercy and justice. For this act of sacralige, it may be quite painful for you--physically, emotionally and spiritually. May Our Dear God Bless you--you're going to need it--may He have mercy on your decrepit soul. Evil, simply evil.--Therese Meisling (04/16/11)

•I was sorry to hear about the organized, dogmatic, fanatics protesting your showing one image of Our Lady b Alma Lopez; some controversy or dialogue is good, but the fanatics are frightening in their invective. I trust that the courage and sound judgments of the curatorial staff and directors will be supported so that all communities benefit from feminist and “in their own works” vision of artists from communities traditionally not represented in mainstream institutions (the traditional Catholic Church, for example).-- Professor Deena Gonzalez, Department of Chicana/o Studies, Loyola Marymount University (04/16/11)

•I just wanted to say how much I admire your unwavering conviction and tenacity.
The old women’s studies major-queer-feminist-activist-in-me has been revived.--Sunny Green (04/15/11)

•you're right, I read your biography and you are queer. I don't know what you are so mad about, maybe it's because of the why you are that you feel you need to disgrace the Lords Mother. I hope when it is your time to be judged he has pity on your stupidity. it's clear you have no shame, but then I don't know anyone who is queer that dose. you are disgusting and by no means an artist .anyone could be a jerk and I guess you succeeded.--Fred Defelice (04/15/11)

•Creativity is a God given gift. You must be an atheist if you deny this fact.--Jocelyn Fuentes (04/14/11)

•Display your own mother as you would want others to see her, do not display our Holy Mother with your lack of respect.--Tony Gonzales (04/14/11)

•I am an elderly woman who is grieved by your depiction of Our Lady of Guadalupe.--Patricia Stebbins (04/13/11)

•I am appalled at the magnitude of disrespect such "art" contains. Any claim on intelligent, artistic expressions should not be made with the intent to insult. Surely there must be a way to express one's views artistically and invite critical arguments on issues the art alludes to without having to step on anyone's much revered beliefs. This is pure insult and cheap artistry. You are known and you earn not by the beauty and intelligence communicated in your art, only by the scandal that you invite.--Kite Alcantara (04/13/11)

•I recently saw your interpretation of Our Lady of Guadalupe - portraying Our Lady in a bikini, and I read your comments saying you wanted to show Mary as a strong woman - it got me thinking that you really didn't understand who Our Lady really is - she is Humility - she is perfect in every way - her strength lies in her beauty, her holiness, her modesty, her dignity, her "yes" to God's request.--Susan Kinnane (04/13/11)

•But, for the sake of your soul, I would beg you to change your ways and realize that your representation mocks the sacredness of something that is very holy. And, only in true repentence will your soul not be endangered through this action. We are all sinners and make mistakes.--Dania Alvarez (04/12/11)

•As an artist myself, I have come to realize that JUST BECAUSE I CAN, DOESN'T MEAN I SHOULD. I, as an artist have a responisbility to humanity and I must discern whether my art is going to heal or destroy. --Anonymous (04/12/11)

•SHAME........................CHICANA TRADITIONAL RELIGIOUS ART???????????????

•I was reading on your website that the criticism against your image of Our Lady was primarily from conservative men. This is not true! --Janet DiCarlo (04/12/11)



Our Lady Emails 2010 (1)

from Jaime Buitrago
date Fri, Jul 16, 2010 at 8:51 AM
subject Our Lady

Hola, Alma. Estamos recordando tu pintura, Our Lady, con motivo de la recién aparición de la La Virgen del Tercer Reich. Compartimos tu libertad en el arte y la valentía con su mejor expresión. Recibe saludos desde León, Nicaragua, de parte del Grupo Fragua de poetas y escritores de esta ciudad.

Un abrazo.

Our Lady Emails 2009 (2)

date Thu, Mar 12, 2009 at 5:09 PM
subject Question on acquiring copies

Ms. Lopez,
I am a student at the University of Arizona majoring in Women's Studies. In
my Chicana Feminist Thought class we did some work on interpreting "Our Lady".
I am so taken by the complexity and layers of your work I would like to have a
print of my own but it seems you are not a commercialized artist! Is there
anywhere or anyway that I can acquire one of your works? Thank you for your
Samantha Craswell

from benjamin ybarra
date Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 4:23 PM
subject Our Lady

Or should I say the Spaniards Lady.
Several years ago (15) I saw a little photo in our local news paper. Somebody named Lopez had painted a Virgin de Guadalupe coming out of her shell totally naked. I've saved that little photo because I new then that there was hope for us:Latinos,Hispanics,Chicanos,Mexican-Americans,Indies, the list would fill the rest of this page. I hope there is controversy. It proves that we're not dead! We have so lable ourselves or have been labeled, that the only image left for us is that soup can of Aandy Warhol. It is precisly what you are doing that Art is all about. Art is not just about patting ourselves in the back:telling ourselves how great we are. Enough with the propaganda! Thank god and the Virgin de Guadalupe that there are Artist with guts(guevos) like you. Keep up the good work! You can count on me...-benjamin ybarra

Our Lady Emails 2008 (2)

from Lucia Rosati
date Thu, Oct 30, 2008 at 7:56 AM
subject estudiatne pide ayuda para públicar una imagen... Urgente!

Hola Alma,

soy una estudiante austriaca que está escribiendo su tesis "mexican icons, cruzando fronteras"... me quedé muy impresionada con tu arte, y es parte de mi investigación. Hace poco me pidieron escribir un artículo sobre el mismo tema para la revista "Lateinamerika anders", pero me dijeron que para públicar una de tus obras (Our Lady) necesito el permiso de la artista... pues todo eso lo supe muy tarde y ahora ya el domingo tengo que entregar el trabajo y si no tengo tu permiso voy a hablar sobre tu obra sin poder ensenarla a los lectores... espero que me puedas ayudar en los próximos días. El artículo va a ser en aleman, pero te lo puedo enviar de todos modos...

Muchas gracias y mucho éxito para tus proyectos futuros,

Lucia Rosati

from Perla Li

date Tue, Dec 2, 2008 at 8:11 PM
subject Purchasing Our Lady of Controversy

Dear Ms. Lopez,

I was introduced to your work by Raul Herrera's Chicano Studies class at ELAC. I have quickly become a great admire of your work. I am interested in buying a copy of Our Lady of Controversy printing. I spoke to me in a strong way and it embodies a strong message I would like my infant daughter to know one day. Please let me know the price and where I can get a copy if possible.


Perla Li

Our Lady Emails 2006 (10)

(Click on date for complete email)

• Bueno despues de esta larga explicacion, voy al grano, fui invitado a Tijuana a presentar lo que trabaje alla, sobre estas imagenes de la calle, y despues de ver su obra y la de otras chicanas, quede pasmado realmente, me parecieron una fregoneria, algo realmente interesantisisismo y muy valioso, pues la imagen es tomanda y representada de una forma muy personal, y a raiz de eso plante la pequenia presentacion. - Ariel Mojica, Mexico (01/22/06)

• I am a Catholic of Mexican decent and lately I have been feeling that religion and faith is loosing its sacredness and I sure hope that you understand where I am coming from as I am trying to understand what you are trying to say by portraying her in this way, even though I do not. - JP (04/07/06)

• La verdad es que te pasas, no entiendo como te atreviste a hacer algo así , lo que me queda claro es que eres una persona que no respeta que para la mayoría de los mexicanos, después de Cristo, es lo mas sagrado. - Gela Mendoza de Martinez (05/20/06)

• I was absolutely stunned to hear that there was such controversy around it but then I am from New Orleans where religious figures have many different reinterpretations and incarnations. Here it is not only accepted but it is a feature of our cultural identity.- Bint Alshamsa, New Orleans (05/31/06)

• I was talking with someone today who very much would like to display the image in our Office of Ethnohistoric Research office. She thinks the progressive Jesuits who frequent the place would greatly appreciate your work. - Nancy Chilton, Arizona (06/26/06)

• Me da la impresión que en los U.S.A. hay una relación muy peculiar con la religión, mejor dicho, con la "God Inc.".- Alberto Mallart, France (08/12/06)

• Your art is pretty dope. - Linda Lopez, San Francisco (08/25/06)

• A beautiful ,delicious and kinki work of art ! - Rolff Trask (09/15/06)

• Don't let them get you down about "Our Lady". It is awesome!! - Marcia Brown, University of Texas, San Antonio (11/27/06)

• I just heard your interview today on KPFK and absolutely loved it. - Ariadna Protti (12/13/06)

Our Lady Emails 2005 (7)

(Click on date for complete email)

• The image encapsulates many contemporary ideas and controversies. -- Maria Sprehn, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice, Montgomery College, Rockville, Maryland (03/07/05)

• solo mi virgen is a complete woman -- sylvia barron (05/19/05)

• theres something about the world these days...arts the only real thing we seem to have left. -- Chelsea Rogers, Student, Savannah College, Georgia (06/03/05)

• When I saw the piece that sparked all of this controversy, I thought to myself, “Now there’s a Mary I can relate to!” -- Rachel Lord, Student, Art Institute (08/28/05)

• This is blasphemy & deadly to your Soul. --Kevin Sorbanelli (09/29/05)

• Currently, my work is dealing with the image of women in art and more specifically strong female iconography. I have spent the last 3 years traveling in Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize and have a great affinity for the patron saints of these countries. -- Patricia Monnett Hayes, graduate student, School of Art and Design, Eas Carolina University, Greenville, NC (11/21/05)

•I just ran across the story about your controversial Our Lady art, and posted on my blog about it. -- Kat Ricker (12/28/05)

Our Lady Emails 2004 •Fullerton Museum Center (30)

(Click on date for complete email)

•I am at present writing a thesis on the Virgin Mary, through the eyes of contemporary Irish women poets. These poets as yourself are determined to create different stories about many Catholic and Celtic Icons in order to present these women in a more sexual, strong light. --Loretta Qwarnstrom, Professor of English, University College of Dalama, Sweden (02/06/04)

•Your art work is wonderful although Im quite hesitant to show it to some people I believe should see it. -- Thomas Contender (02/26/04)

•i was happy to find your site and to read about the responses to your digital image of La Guadalupe. i believe you have much courage and understanding of la cultura and your modern place within it to portray such an image. --kleya forte-escamilla, artist (03/01/04)

•I'm a student at Loyola University Chicago. I'm working on a group presentantio on activist latina artists for may Latina Writers class. I came accross with your work and I thought it was really interesting. -- Angeles Perez, student, Loyola University Chicago (03/21/04)

•pero que desmadre por un retrato, it amazes me. -- Ricardo Juan, San Francisco (03/26/04)

•I find it interesting that this photo enraged so many people. To me it says a great deal about the way the feminine form is sexualized by society. --Alicia Brito (04/07/04)

•I just wanted to say that I'm a Cathoic girl, and I absolutely LOVE your digital collage, "Our Lady." --Aubry Hopkins, Kansas City, Kansas (04/12/04)

•Although I am not happy about having toÊforward the attached, I thought that you needed to know: Art museum to refrain from exhibiting blasphemous image of "La Virgen de Guadalupe" -- John A. Felts, Los Angeles (08/03/04)

•Friends, here we go again. -- Alma Lopez (08/03/04)

•Dear Friends, Alma Lopez, well-known lesbian artist, will be exhibiting one of her art pieces at the Fullerton Museum Center (Orange County, CA). La Voz de Aztlan, an online Chicana/o "news service" is trying to censor/boycott Alma's work. -- Monica Taher, GLAAD's People of Color Media Director (08/03/04)

•I can't believe that Ernesto is still on the prowl for Queer Chican@ Activists. He went all over the campus to try and get one of my e-board members from La Familia into trouble but was brushed off by our Student Life Director. -- Carlos A. Garcia, Administrative Trainee Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs La Familia de Cal Poly Pomona California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (08/03/04)

•I am not familiar with Ms. Lopez's work, but I am familiar with incendiary commentaries about images of the Virgen de Guadalupe, such as the one you received from Mr. Ernesto Cienfuegos. -- Marta Donayre, Co-Founder Love Sees No Borders (08/03/04)

•Ernesto Cienfuegos hosts a hateful website, which no one with an education would subscribe to or believe in. When the Voz de Aztlan editors (two life-mates, I think) are confronted about the hateful bigotry they spew---they hide behind their website and will not come out face to face. -- Victoria Delgadillo, Artist (08/03/04)

•It is extremely disturbing that Mr. Cinfuegos has written such a hateful letter to you about such an honest, creative and powerful artist like Ms. Lopez who cares greatly for her Mexican culture. He does not speak for all Mexicanos and he certainly does not speak for me, a well respected Chicana lesbian writer/performer who continues to create work from my two cultures and for my two cultures. -- Monica Palacios, Performance Artist (08/03/04)

•Here was the letter sent to Cienfuegos yesterday. I don't need to tell you how deceptive his response is. I'll be meeting with our Attorney tonight on another matter and hope he can provide me with some advise. -- Joe Felz, Director, Fullerton Museum Center (08/03/04)

•I have known of Alma Lopez's work for quite some time now. I value not only its quality - but her creativity. I wish we, the Latina/o community, had more artists like Alma Lopez whose only "sin" is to challenge her own talent. -- Monica Taher, GLAAD's People of Color Media Director (08/03/04)

•Friends! Thanks for ALL your e-mails! Below you will find the letter that the museum's Director sent to La Voz de Aztlan's Editor, Mr. Cienfuegos. The museum will go ahead with Alma's piece. He did not let La Voz intimidate him. In fact, he is talking to the museum's attorneys. This is the power of "la unidad." -- Monica Taher, GLAAD's People of Color Media Director (08/03/04)

•I have read what I believe to be most, if not all of the current demands and highly inflammatory "ALLEGATIONS" made by Mr. Cienfuegos and regard most of the information simply erroneous and truly poisonous in nature. Additionally, I was able to read Ms. Lopez's response letter(s) to both you and Mr. Cienfuegos and find creditability, as well as pragmatic reason, in favor of Alma's recount and response related to the facts. -- John Felts (08/04/04)

•Because you are (according to gente who know you), muy inseguro and you use the pretexto of protecting the Virgen but do not walk the talk when it comes to protecting real live women. The content of your little web site shows that. You are another sad example of why women all over the world are repressed by little males como usted. -- Yolanda Vargas, (08/04/04)

•First of all, thank you for your effort to include cutting-edge Chicana artists like Alma Lopez in the continuing artistic dialogue in Orange County. It is truly unfortunate that right-wing zealots like Mr. Cienfuegos feel they can speak for millions of Chicanas/os and Mexicans. -- Alex Ortega (08/04/04)

•The letter written by Cienfuegos regarding the work of Alma Lopez is disturbing and hateful. I hope you and the museum do not take this man seriously. -- Louis Sanchez (08/05/04)

•This is the response that I will be sending shortly to all of the inquiries we have rec'd based on the inaccurate stories from the "La Voz" website. This has been reviewed and approved by our Attorneys as well as by other City and Museum officials. -- Joe Felz, Director, Fullerton Museum Center (08/05/04)

•The caca gets thick around completely confused full of hate homophobes soÊI am apoligizing to you for them because they do not know any better. -- Lea Arellano, Poet (08/05/04)

•I strongly urge you and your institution not to succumb to the pressure of a few but rather to continue the mission of museums and gallery spaces and to showcase creativity and educate your visitors on multiple perspectives in a ever-changing world. Culture, art and religion are not stagnant but rather change and adapt with the times. --Tey Marianna Nunn, Ph.D., Curator of Contemporary Hispano and Latino collections, Museum of International Folk Art (08/06/04)

•I am so sorry to hear about the censorship. I AM glad that you informed us, because we need to know which obstacles of ignorance exist out there (Cienfuegos) order to overcome them, move them, go around them, and educate others in order to be fair and maintain the integrity of our freedom in this country to express ourselves. -- Antonio Rael, Artist (08/06/04)

•Every dog has their day and I (for one) would like to see these perros put back in their pen. -- Victoria Delgadillo, Artist, (08/06/04)

•Efforts to silence women, artists, minorities, lesbians and anyone who dares to take a different point of view run counter to the civil liberties that are the very basis of American society. It is not controversy that we should be afraid of but the chilling effects of censorship. --Joyce Ice, Ph.D., Director, Museum of International Folk Art (08/06/04)

•We have never "censored" the selections of our guest curator, Lynn LaBate, nor have we censored the work of Alma Lopez. -- Joe Felz, Director, Fullerton Museum Center (08/20/04)

•I am writing a lecture about religious art and personal identity and would like to include a section on your painting "Our Lady." -- Karl F. Morrison, Professor of History Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey (10/05/04)

•I was writing a paper/essay entitled, Guadalupe: Mother of Mexico or American Pop-Culture Goddess, and while researching I ran across your work. -- Sarah Carter, Student, San Diego (12/09/04)


Our Lady Emails 2003 •Self Help Graphics (18)

(Click on date for complete email)

•No mames!!!! saves llegue a tu webpage y mire que estas vestida como la vergen de guadalupe saves que pendeja para todos es un argullo la virgen -- (02/01/03)

•well its me again you lil bitch que you thing you look cool dressing like tha virgen de guadalupe o que!!!!! -- (02/01/03)

•What a shame that you use your exquisite talent in such a shameful, and artistically ludicrous way. Your depiction of Our Lady of Guadalupe in bikini offends me. -- John Correll (02/18/03)


•I think your piece “Our Lady” is awesome it shows the great power all women have inside themselves. -- Joe, Tucson, Arizona (03/29/03)

•But being from a mostly white society, I didn't realize what emotions "Our Lady" elicited from the Latino community. -- Patricia (04/07/03)

• Gosh, I wish people would just calm down already. -- diane osollo (04/08/03)

•I think you are a sick person of your head -- Almassolas (04/08/03)

• It's great to live in a country where even the ignorant can say what they feel they must -- Al Siow (04/10/03)

•por favor borra la imagen de la virguen --"xx xaca"(04/24/03)

•It's beyond me how anyone who can obviously paint would do such a thing as to portray Our Lady of Guadalupe in such a demeaning way -- Dominga Martinez (05/06/03)

•Your "Our Lady" is hot and wonderful, Alma. Go ahead! -- Marisa de Oliveira, Brasil (06/27/03)

•How sad that you display Our Lady, Queen of Heaven and Earth, Our Mother and the Mother of all, Jesus' Mother in a horrid manner. -- Amy Tarr (06/28/03)

•Last week there was a group of people concerned about a print which will be on exhibit titled "Our Lady of Controversy." -- Alma Lopez (06/28/03)

•I must tell you that if you have no respect for the Mother Of GOD than to portray her as you have, there isnt really anything to say that will make you see the error in what you have done, It is abvious you do not fear or revere the Wrath of him whose Mother you scandalize.-- Robert Beaulieu M.I. (06/29/03)

•En mi opinion, mientras algunos "pseudocatolicos" sigan apoyando a dictadores y demas criminales, que en nombre de Dios han hecho barbaridades, no tienen ningun derecho ni ninguna autoridad moral para juzgar a una artista.-- Luis Eguiguren, Quito, Ecuador (07/04/03)

•I really enjoyed looking at your web site. -- Benjamin Venegas (07/06/03)

•The media and now the fine arts have turned this country into a trivial community of oversexed mental retards that can't distinguish between salvation and invasion in other countries. -- Sylvia Gonzales (07/08/03)



Our Lady Emails 2002 (127)

(Click on date for complete email)

•Nice art! -- T & M Ridgeway (01/01/02)

• In my assessment, whatever Romero-Sedeno says about the art exhibit has neither truth nor value, and will not, until he accepts responsibility for his role in turning a discussion of art and ideas into a hateful and evil affair. -- mvsedano (01/04/02)

•MVSedano continuously cowers from debate about the semiotics, symbolisms and cultural implications I have raised questions about in criticism about A. Lopez's Our Lady of What-a-Looker. --Pedro Romero Sedeno (01/04/02)

•Given that similar figurines (including monks and priests) are sold on the streets of Barcelona and in front of cathedrals - and have been for a couple of centuries at least - this is so ridiculous. -- Svetlana Mintcheva (01/07/02)

•I realize the exhibition has closed, but I was interested if there were additional links containing any new developments since September. -- Shelly Reese (01/16/02)

•I think your work is wonderful, and it really touched me as a woman. -- Julie.M.Davis (01/16/02)

•I grew up in SF and I have an obsession with Guadalupe imagery, so your work and this issue have a very personal meaning to me. -- Katie FitzCallaghan (01/18/02)

•Anyway, I love the idea, your reconfiguring her image as a woman and not just an unattainable role model for women. -- Elaine Pena (01/18/02)

•Witness last year's non-sense of the Museum of International Folk Art of the Museum of New Mexico stumping Alma Lopez's digitalia**. To me, this "cultural display" by a folk art institution only promoted the stereotype, the pigoenhole, of all Chicano artists are folk artists whose esperiments belong in the folk art venue ---- they are new and naive to the medium, and the work comes out this way because they know no better. -- Pedro Romero Sedeno (01/22/02)

•!st of all; your so called critics, give you rent free space to promote your concept of; "Our Lady" "Our Lady" Virgin of Guadalupe!--Rosalio Sanchez (01/28/02)

•There is nothing about Alma's work that recruits anyone to join her or believe what she believes. --Margaret Garcia (01/28/02)

•Alma Lopez reflects this same jingoism in her Lupe series, "our lady" serving as propaganda for Alma's gender-politics, a rant against the Catholic male hierarchy. --Pedro Romero Sedeno (01/29/02)

•As I recall the Santa Fe community was the first to throw stones and Alma defended herself. I would do the same if I was in her shoes. --Lizette (01/29/02)

•(To Octavio Romano) Otra vez la mula al trigo... Why does that pisses you off so much? Have you forgotten that you were an early praiser of "Our Lady?" --urrutia (01/29/02)

•The 1999 digital poster by Alma Lopez deletes the garments of Guadalupe that are codexes in themselves, and claims are made that this poster is an interpretation of Guadalupe-Tonantzin. -- Pedro Romero Sedeno, MFA (01/30/02)

•It's BEAUTIFUL! --Audrey Francis (01/30/02)

•While I'm one of the whitest gringos around, I have always loved Hispanic/Latin culture - especially the powerful artwork, and yours ranks up there with the best as far as I'm concerned. -- James Wiske (01/30/02)

•Es tristisimo ver la imagen que hiciste de la Virgen de Guadalupe, espero que tengas miedo, porque por lo visto respeto no hay pero para nada, obviamente es el mal (el Demonio) el que está detras de la miseria humana, queda claro en que equipo estas. --Luisa Fernanda Basurto Casais (01/31/02)

•As for there being ignorance in Alma's mind, I take the view that she is cognizant of oppressive and narrow minds like you. Nevertheless, she is not allowing people like you to dictate what she can do and when. -- Urrutia [To Pedro Romero Sedeño] (02/01/02)

•urrutia, this deity inside of me guides me to "speak truth to power". The power here is ignorance, ignorance about the pictorial revelation of deity's MOTHER aspect, La Lupe, ignorance about her Image as a CULTURAL standard, ignorance in Alma Lopez's mind, yours and various sundry individuals whom I perceive as POSTURING to be progressives and intellectuals. A la Madre! -- Pedro Romero Sedeño [To Urrutia] (02/01/02)

•Estimado Pedro: With regard to your forthcoming debate with Alma Lopez, I think it would be a courtesy to all others if the participants adopt everyday English to the exclusion of in-group shop talk and technical language. -- Octavio Romano [To Pedro Romero Sedeño] (02/02/02)

•I think they are all interpretations and re interpretations. -- Alma Lopez (02/02/02)

•The second type of interpretation (actually a modification or "re-image" as you call-it), is that offered which does not pursue this fidelity to the Image-content, and instead is selective in its choice of elements in the icon, deleting some and adding additional content derived from the artist's personal experience. -- Pedro Romero Sedeño (02/02/02)

•The Education of Pedro Romero Sedeño: Chicana/o Art and the Virgen de Guadalupe. Objective: To gain a broader understanding of Chicana/o Art, with a focus on Chicanas and the Virgen of Guadalupe. --Alma Lopez (02/02/02)

•I think feminist art comes into its full power when it acknowledges and upholds, rather than ignores, the maternal values of womanhood. This conjecture of mine is a key, I maintain, to understanding the differences between Alma Lopez's "La Lupe series" and the original icon of "Our Lady of Guadalupe" , the goal of my participation in this exchange. -- Pedro Romero Sedeño (02/04/02)

•Good Show Alma! and congratulations on the continuing controversy, Ha! we should all be so lucky. Half the time one goes into an exhibition and ten minutes later can't recall what one saw because the stuff is so phenomenally forgetable. Not this one, I remember every bit of it, right down to the way the graphics were designed on the wall. -- Rosa M. (02/04/02)

•Let me reiterate that I, Pedro Romero, have never advocated censorship of Alma Lopez's work. My activist work has been to educate, urging that La Lupe series remain on exhibit, if not in the Museum, in another appropriate venue, such as an art gallery. -- Pedro Romero Sedeño (02/05/02)

•Do Chicana more often than Chicano artists reinterpret the established cultural and religious icon of the Virgen of Guadalupe? Why? What is the purpose of repeatedly portraying the same image over and over, void of a personal or social or political interpretation or meaning? -- Alma Lopez (02/05/02)

•Pedro, according to you it would be fine if the "Our Lady" digital print had been on exhibition in a Santa Fe gallery but not in a museum? Why? Does this apply to your work too? Does this apply to all Chicana/o Art also? Why shouldn't we be in museums? -- Alma Lopez (02/05/02)

•I hope I have shown you, at least, that an artist in Santa Fe with a little education about art has the brains to question the artistic merit and intent of your work, and not just naive Catholic laypeople and clergy concerned about theology (well, cultural identity too.). -- Pedro Romero Sedeño (02/05/02)

•"Our Lady" digital print is not devotional art. It is a print on exhibit in a museum. It is not in a church. Is it difficult for you to distinguish between a museum and a church? I'm not asking anyone to pray to this digital print, nor light a candle. Nada like that. Like is usual in museums, all I would expect is for people to look at it for a few seconds before moving on to the next print, or the next gallery, or the next museum. -- Alma Lopez (02/05/02)

•My point was simply that not only women, but also men reinterpret the Virgen of Guadalupe. -- Alma Lopez (02/06/02)

•No, I am not looking at the Image as a "Catholic" religious image. I understand the Image as a cosmic revelation which spoke to the indigenous and which was later controlled by the Catholic institution. -- Pedro Romero Sedeño (02/06/02)

•I just wanted for both of us to acknowledge that we are looking at one image very differently, and to respect that. -- Alma Lopez (02/06/02)

•Bottom line: complain all you want Pedro, Alma needs no defense, and nothing that has gone before her image argues against the viability and authenticity of her virgin image or any image she creates as legitimate and acceptable within anyone's understanding and appreciation of chicana and chicano art. -- Michael Sedano (02/07/02)

•MVSedano, cut the rhetoric, you're merely coming from the ego. While Alma Lopez makes up her mind as to whether Our Lady of Guadalupe exists or not and if the apparition really took place, I think that there are Chicana artists that not only look at Her Image, but actually connect themselves to the Spirit behind the Image, through an exercise of faith. -- Pedro Romero Sedeño [To M.V. Sedano] (02/07/02)

•Does your paragraph mean you believe Alma Lopez' art is not connected to spirit realities? I don't understand how a figure's mode of dress cuts the connections between the source image and the current derived image? -- M.V. Sedano [To Pedro Romero Sedeño] (02/07/02)

•As I said once before, I don't think any symbol -- cross, flag, dollar bills or the virgen -- is off limits for artistic reinterpretation. -- JoAnn [To M.V. Sedano] (02/07/02)

•I reiterate here that Alma Lopez has every right to make whatever, and if this Museum wants to prop the notion that what she made is of artistic merit, I, Pedro Romero, have every right to question the merit of the "work". -- Pedro Romero Sedeño [To M.V. Sedano] (02/09/02)

•Your visions of women are beautiful, strong, and personally empowered, and they serves as a source of inspiration, I think, for all women. By the way, my husband (who has been bringing classes to Santa Fe for seven years) thought the Cyber-Arte exhibit and your work in-particular were the most meaningful part of his class-EVER.-- Julie Davis (02/10/02)

•I'm looking to find out if "our Lady" is being displayed anywhere today - after the SF New Mexico exhibit. -- Marge (02/11/02)

•If someone is going to support the dissection and manipulation of a pueblo's principal religious icon, one the people take to their heart, carry with them into their batallas and teach their children to respect, and support that this manipulation function as a vehicle for some ego's own agenda, then I say these supporters do not know the meaning of "respect". -- Pedro Romero Sedeño [To Guillermo Bejerano] (02/11/02)

•I'm sorry but I was really ofended by it. First of all the woman representing the virgen does not have a decent look on her face. It looks to erotic. -- Arturo Lopez (02/12/02)

•I am informed by a woman Conchera dancer in NM that the invocation of Coyolxauqui in feminist pagan religion is the attempt to re-member this sister deity, to re-member her and a need to retaliate, mythically, to the destructive deed of the male deity Huitzilopochtli who dis-membered her. . In effect, an anti-myth of retaliation, to remember grievances, to counter the "myth" of compassion communicated by the deity Guadalupe-Tonantzin. i.e. of letting go of grievances and forgiving. -- Pedro Romero Sedeño (02/12/02)

•Regardless of beliefs, one way or another, you have written the best review yet of the "Guadalupe" work by Alma Lopez. -- Octavio Romano [Pedro Romero Sedeño] (02/12/02)

•Why is a healing image for Chicanas necessarily a "retaliation" image for Chicanos like Pedro? -- Alma Lopez [To Pedro Romero Sedeño and Octavio Romano] (02/12/02)

•My final conclusion is that the work "Our Lady" by Alma Lopez is weak. It is highly derivative, showing excellent craft, but in substance, pretty thin. Aside from shuffling around some of the design motifs of Guadalupe and embedding the Coyolxauqhui stone, what's there besides some vibrant colors? -- Pedro Romero Sedeño (02/12/02)

•I am an artist with an mfa too, so your conclusion of my work doesn't have any more bearing or weight than mine. Its simply your opinion. You have a right to your opinion, and I have a right to mine. -- Alma Lopez [To Pedro Romero Sedeño] (02/12/02)

•...I do think this constitutes some kind of religious moral contradiction...violently reprimanding someone to defend the visual representaion a "compassionate" mother? And since when did Mexicanos regard Chicanoa work as virtuous? I thought we were still Pochos? -- Marco Loera [To Pedro Romero Sedeño] (02/12/02)

•I said that I felt that a more appropriate venue for your work was a gallery. A museum can show bad art if it chooses to, (they often times do), but I think they should qualify it as such, especially a publicly-funded one that gets its funds by stating its mission is to be educational. -- Pedro Romero Sedeño (02/12/02)

•You may not agree that the exhibition was educational, but it was. Its intent was to demonstrate how traditional iconography and new technologies are combined in the work of four Chicana/Latina/Hispana artists - three of them from NM and me the outsider from California. And like I have stated before, my work is well within a Chicana/o art tradition. In solidarity with me and to take a stand against censorship of Latina artists, the three Nuevo Mexicana artists asked that their work be removed if my work was removed. -- Alma Lopez [To Pedro Romero Sedeño] (02/12/02)

•Have you ever heard of being succinct? When I talk about fanatical preaching I am definitely talking about you: You go on an on as if your view were the only one. You figure that if you can't convince anyone you will just wear them down. -- Traveisa [To Pedro Romero Sedeño] (02/13/02)

•How, by mixing the stonework into Lupita's garment, the artist offers so subtle and sly a verbal trick. "Behold!" proclaims the artist, "the substance of what goes before, the antemyth." Ante, meaning before, and a duality in femininity. Not the anti- the one or the other. Ante-myth. I never saw that before. -- M.V. Sedano [To Pedro Romero Sedeño] (02/13/02)

•I hope you have seen my post about Southern California Chicano prisoners in San Quentin. The working rule is: "You are either for us or you are against us, either by act or region or neighborhood." The ganga rules. -- Octavio Romano (02/13/02)

•Octavio, I don't know about gang/prison relations, but just enough to know that you are over-simplifying. I can't really speak to these, but hopefully activists like raulsalinas or others will if they want to... -- Alma Lopez [To Octavio Romano] (02/13/02)

•Yo soy Michael Victor Sedano. Pasadena Califas. I am not enraged in dialog con la Alma. Romero-Sedeño has, in his typically misogynistic manner, affiliated me with Alma because I write in support of Alma's "Our Lady," so clearly, folks, there's not a whit of similarity. -- M.V. Sedano [To Traveisa, Rosamwill, and others] (02/13/02)

•If there is a "Guadalupe Taliban" here, it is Alma Lopez, who thinks she rules the domain of knowledge of Guadalupe, but her concept of Her is illegitimate and bogus. -- Pedro Romero Sedeño [To Traveisa] (02/14/02)

•You are not simply judging Alma's work. You are passing judgment on any one who supports her. -- Traveisa [To Pedro Romero Sedeño] (02/15/02)

•I have learned that to many, pero only speaking for myself, that to re-member Coyolxauqhui is to help us to heal from our / her soul wounds - de nuestros sustos como hembras (Avila, 1999), not, as you wrote, " effect, an anti-myth of retaliation, to remember grievances, to counter the "myth" of compassion communicated by the deity Guadalupe-Tonantzin. i.e. of letting go of grievances and forgiving..." . -- Anna Mora [To Pedro Romero Sedeño] (02/15/02)

•Alma, can you please send a photo of yourself. I'm going to paint you as the Guadalupe. I'm so ashamed of Santa Fe's faults. -- Ronnie Chavez (02/16/02)

•They speak instead in platitudes, in truisms, and the many other linguistic mechanisms to avoid letting the world know who they really are. I speak of Alma, Sedaño, Urrutia, and others. Your work, Sedeño, tells the world who you really are. -- Octavio Romano [To Pedro Romero Sedeño] (02/17/02)

•Hi Alma, I just wanted to let you know that I went down to SF this week and talked to lots of interesting people! -- Katie Johnson (02/17/02)

•i am writing to share my observation that whenever the journal shows a copy of the alma lopez work, it cuts off the bottom - the breasts of the angel. it did not edit out the breasts in your column. perhaps because primitive breast don't cause heavy breathing. -- Helen Lopez, Attorney at Law, Taos, New Mexico [To Mr. Hume] (02/18/02)

• Believing that her digitals have anything to do with Guadalupe is like believing that the fictional Frankenstein actually did exist or came to life. -- Pedro Romero Sedeño [To Calaca] (02/18/02)

•I'm a non-believer (of any kind of religion). So I don't give a turd if people dis la Lupe or not (though I don't think Alma disses her). -- Brent E. Beltrán [ To Pedro Romero Sedeño] (02/18/02)

•I have, in the past 9 months, posted quite a bit of satire related to my analysis of Alma Lopez's "our lady", and for good reason. Touted by the Museum of New Mexico as a representation of Our Lady of Guadalupe and a representation of "changes" in our culture, the piece deserves serious questioning of its merit, and of the attitude which produced it. -- Pedro Romero Sedeño [To Cecelia] (02/19/02)

•I thought Sedeño was your buddy? Especially the way you two were tag teaming up against Alma and her Lupe. Your common hatred for her ain't enough to sustain the relationship, huh? -- Calaca [To Octavio Romano] (02/19/02)

•I don't pretend to be the most faithful and have not been most compassionate in my analyses of Alma Lopez's La Lupe series (I enjoy my satire, at least it's original and creative). But at least I have the conviction to state that I am a believer, and make my position known. -- Pedro Romero Sedeño [To Traveisa] (02/20/02)

•Finally, shouldn't we all, as part of a multi-cultural society, be willing to accept that another person's expression is about them and their expression, and not about attacking other people whose religious persuasion is different? That the occasional offensive work, even if offensive to many, is worth tolerating as part of the process that creates many kinds of work to appreciate? -- JoAnn (02/20/02)

•Ms. Lopez I am a college student studying Latin American History. I would like to hear from you about your life, growing up, and most of all your painting of the Virgin de Guadalupe. -- Bernadette Hernandez (02/22/02)

•Yet Alma and her print is in denial of the strength required and acquired in maternity. This is the most salient shortcoming of the piece. In this, Alma fails at interpreting Guadalupe in any substantive way. In addition, two gazes, one of humility, offered in deference to the viewer, the other gaze with a different intent, confronts the viewer, confrontational, "in your face", could be interpreted as that of a threatening chola.-- Pedro Romero Sedeño (02/23/02)

•Thank you so much for helping me out with my research project. I really appreciate it. I've had time to think of questions I'd like you to answer if you could. -- Bernadette Hernandez (02/25/02)

•Personally, I loved the piece and couldn't quite understand what all the hullabaloo was about. --Katie Johnson, Albuquerque, New Mexico (02/25/02)

• I see Alma's work as a political statement about gender issues, her Guadalupe-adornments and her claims that her work is an "interpretation" are more like camouflage propping weight to Alma's message, at best. At worst, a cheap-shot at notoriety or stepping-stone in the artworld, ambition sans devotion. -- Pedro Romero Sedeno [To] (03/04/02)

•The Manitos developed a folk art tradition distinct from the folk art tradition of the US in that it was religious in intent and character and Hispanic, of course. This folk art tradition included many retablos done in devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and considering that New Mexico was actually Mexico until the Anglo-American occupation consummated in 1848, one can see that that La Virgen is "our" symbol tambien, culturally, although not as historically as in Mexico since the rupture of the historical experience by the Anglo border. -- Pedro Romero Sedeno [To Roberto Rodriguez, XColumn] (03/06/02)


•Sólo quería saludarte y felicitarte por tus composiciones. Están muy muy bien y me fascina la de la nueva virgen. -- Martín Camps (03/06/02)

•My family lives in Santa Fe, NM and I had remembered hearing about your interesting painting from my very catholic parents while visiting. I briefly thought about both sides of the issue and I really felt that both sides had grounds in which they could argue coherently.--Lourdes Solorzano (03/06/02)

•I REJECT your notion that my argument re Alma Lopez's work is linked to the past call for censorship, or connected to an "anti-Mexican" sentiment. -- Pedro Romero Sedeno [To Roberto of XColumn] (03/10/02)

•Shown anywhere else, New York, Los Angeles, etc., would have been fine with me. But in its exhibition (pun intended) in the Folk Arts section of the Museum of New Mexico, the work was metamorphosed into a gross, ideological, political and destructive statement against the Catholic Manito people of the state. -- Octavio Romano (3/10/02)

•I don't think that you were born in mexico because, if you were born in mexico then you wouldn't make fun of the image of our virgen de Guadalupe.-- Martin (03/11/02)

•I am a third world feminist who is aware of all the injustice but I do not agree on fighting for that injustice with something that will offend someone else. --Ana Carrillo (03/12/02)

•When I first saw the image of La Virgen I was shocked. It hit my very soul. But then I reflected and read your comments. I must now say you did La Virgen justice. --P. Aguirre (03/12/02)

•I'd written and produced a musical play about Mary Magdalene as an abused child, in 1995, performed in Espanola, No NM Community College. It was addressing the same issues, and the political climate was similar to your own art work controversy. -- Patricia Brown (03/25/02)

•I think the painting is wonderful. I have cut a page from a local newspaper featuring the picture and posted it on a wall in my house. -- Nelio de Sousa (04/03/02)

•Alma's work, to me, is rather inneffectual in itself; what I fiound dangerous is the claim that the artist makes of it, and propped by the Museum of New Mexico, that it is her interpretation of an venerated image and Persona, -- Pedro Romero Sedeño (04/16/02)

•finally, a statement about art. finally a clear critical posture. the standard of measure will be "effectual" -- Michael Sedano (04/17/02)

•This stuff is totally unseen in Australia, I was thinking maybe an exhibition down under would be great. -- T & M Ridgeway (0419/02)

•Look at Alma's piece, how it takes on a life of its own to find disparate audiences who then use the piece for their own ends. -- Michael Sedano (04/20/02)

•To illustrate a point I have communicated about for about a year now, I urge viewers: Take a look at Alma's piece "Our Lady" and also take a look at the original image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. -- Pedro Romero Sedeño (04/21/02)

•MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOUL! -- Trudy Selig (04/22/02)

• Pedro, you and all those millions of people are entitled to those perceptions as true and sacred, as my wife and many of my family members. I respect that. But as an artist that you are, I would think that you would abhor restrictions imposed on any other artist to express themselves as they wish. -- Mando (04/22/02)

• I see your art specifically addressing the need for some real female identification within Catholicism. -- Peggy Lee Kennedy, Loyola Marymount University (04/26/02)

• As to your wariness about "wrap up in a religious mantle", you sure seem to have gobbled up Alma Lopez's sophistry about her political poster wrapped up in Guadalupe-packaging. -- Pedro Romero Sedeño (04/26/02)

•What I wrote about Alma's "Lupe" was; I like it, but I thought it needed maturity. What I thought about your critique was that it was full of contemptible religious bias that went on and on for weeks,and still going. -- Mando (04/26/02)

•The other side, people who see art and magic in any creation, seems to hold that Art expresses one's heart and soul, una alma that guides one to create, draw, shoot, sculpt, write about a subject matter. -- Michael Sedano (04/27/02)

•(To Mando) Your glaringly empty analysis is akin to your expressed "like" of Alma Lopez's piece in your Mystaken Musings posting, because of "all the historical, cultural, and political" whatever she put in the piece. -- Pedro Romero Sedeño (04/27/02)

• just wanted to tell you how much i appreciated your web site. -- Maritza Giovanna Stanchich, Doctoral Candidate, Literature Department, University of California, Santa Cruz (04/28/02)

•This spring I am teaching "Latinas in the U.S." at CSU Hayward. One of the lectures is about how Chicana visual artists have refigured and reclaimed the Virgen de Guadalupe. -- María Ochoa (04/29/02)

• As Mando still articulately fingers it out in this "deep" forum about art and ideas, he, in lock-step Aztla-fashion, parrots the "I like Alma's Loopie" blurp, but adds he thinks it needed "maturity". -- Pedro Romero Sedeño (04/29/02)

•(To Pedro Romero Sedeño) Did we not evolve from the monkey? Babble on my raving friend, babble on -- Mando (04/30/02)

•Being an artist myself I see why you have stirred up some emotions. Good you've done your job beautifully. -- Elzapper (05/07/02)

•On this listserve I have debated a Chicano ideology that seeks to repudiate the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe as a Catholic and European invention, a "colonizing" instrument, as Alma Lopez put it, and only of cultural and secular significance in the life of Chicanas and Chicanos. -- Pedro Romero Sedeño (05/10/02)


•I have made an issue about the Museum of New Mexico's intellectual fraud , i.e. presenting something that is anti-traditional as something that is a development of tradition. -- Pedro Romero Sedeño (05/14/02)

• Last year, a state cultural institution, the Museum of New Mexico, in its Museum of International Folk Art, exhibits an installation with a computer on an altar in a chapel-like setting and calls the show "CyberArte: Tradition meets Technology". -- Pedro Romero Sedeño (05/16/02)

•In Chicano culture, there are some who believe in the apparition of an "extraterrestrial intelligence" known as Guadalupe-Tonantzin. A dialogue in February on this listserve compared non-belief and belief in these apparitions between two Chicanoa artists, respectively Alma Lopez and Pedro Romero. -- Pedro Romero Sedeño (05/23/02)

•I like the intellectual and political energy of your work and I admire your courageous spirit. -- Harryette Mullen (05/25/02)

•no mames con esa foto de la vigen!! eso es pura mierda!! -- Ghaurto Franco (05/25/02)

•I salute your efforts to keep the discusion open and to assert your right to display your creativeness. It is important for each of us to have a voice to express and a space to express it. -- Nathalie Turmeau, Richmond, BC, Canada (05/28/02)

•I think "Our Lady" looks very beautiful! -- Orlando (06/29/02)

•I am working on my master's at the University of Oklahoma; my thesis is "La Virgen de Guadalupe in Contemporary Latino Culture: Images in Art and Literature." -- Juanita Salazar Lamb (09/09/02)

•Just took a look at your "Our Lady." Honestly, I was somewhat taken back by her adornment; as an African American christian with Catholic Hispanic, African, and Europeon friends, I have always thought of and seen "Our Lady" as a beautiful, modest, and holy lady. -- Veronica Berry (09/15/02)

•In our diverse culture, people need to appreciate and embrace differences, yet instead it is feared. Such a shame. When such fear is acted on, such as in censorship, it hurts everyone. -- Stephanie Ludt (09/25/02)

•I will say a prayer for you, Alma. This is a truly unworthy use of the talent God gave you, and you will suffer the eternal consequences unless you repent-- Laurence D. Behr, Esq. (10/01/02)

•Hello, I have been researching the controversy that ensued at Santa Fe, as well how other Latina artists have portrayed Our Lady in recent years. -- Holly, Dept of Communication, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (10/12/02)

•I really like your illustration of La Virgen. Often, I find myself appreciating a work more when I hear or read about the artist's intent. -- Diane Osollo (10/18/02)

•One thing that struck me in particular about the controversy in Santa Fe was the lack of dialog and the severity of discord among the parties involved, particularly in regard to a religious issue. -- Lille Norstad, graduate student, Spanish and English Departments at UNM (10/21/02)

•En mi opinion, es muy barato su interpretacion de este importante imagen -- Alfonso Camarena (10/22/02)

•I suspect that what is infuriating all these caballeros in Northern New Mexico is NOT the costume, but the loss of the all-loving, all-forgiving, all-nurturing mom. -- Elvira Segura (10/30/02)

•I am an art student from England ( I used live in Mexico and also in northern California ) who is interested in anythnig inspired by Guadalupe as i am starting some work inspired by her. -- Chloe (10/31/02)

•this isnt very nice for catholics who praise our lady of guadalupe. have a little more respect for our lady and for yourself.-- Esperanza (11/25/02)

•I think those that get offended by Our LAdy are not sure what they believe in, otherwise someones art and expression would not pose a threat. -- Viviana Toledano (12/10/02)

•me gustaria que fueras un poco mas religiosa pues me imagino que alguna bes as leido oas escuchado de la Biblia aserca de Maria Magdalena con Jesus Cristo -- Eladio (12/11/02)

•I wish I could see a strong woman as some of your e-mailers have called this work of the "Virgen" but Alma I felt really sad when I saw your work , to me I felt ashamed by it, you can rate it up there with that guy who put a crucifix in a bottle of urine. -- Eloy (12/11/02)

•I think your website succeeds in creating an outlet for people to voice their concerns and question the iconography that molds our culture as Latinas. -- Patricia Benjumea, graduate student, English Department, California State Fullerton (12/16/02)


Our Lady Emails December 200111)

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• I believe there is a big difference in intellectual responsibility in exhibiting "anywhichway" depictions of La Virgen in a private gallery or home and in a publicly-funded cultural institution, especially of a state that is home to many educated Raza and cultural traditions, and not just art-neanderthals and witchhunters as characterized by Ms. Lopez--Pedro Romero Sedeno (12/04/01)

•I think there was a condemnation of the art (electronic collage, which fits the category in my opinion) in Santa Fe because of the view the local people held toward the museum and what they choose to exhibit, which a lot of them considered offended their sensibilities in terms of their religious beliefs.--Cecelia (12/05/01)

•If urrutia finds Lopez´s poster relevant, fine, to each his own. I personally thought it was stupid. At issue for me was that the Museum of New Mexico was validating this as relevant and significant and I chose to differ with this cultural gatekeeper´s (the curator´s) notions. --Pedro Romero Sedeño MFA (12/05/01)

•If any of Romero's work had been included in the exhibit, would he have been so willing to call the curator a gatekeeper? --urrutia (12/06/01)

•Romero's revisionist and selective memory regarding his participation in nihilist protest would have a reader believe Romero and his henchfolk were engaged in aesthetic debate set against a cultural landscape.--mvsedano (12/07/01)

•On your website, I read Jose Villegas' email to you, and I was sorry that he had the nerve to speak for all of Northern New Mexico. --Yolanda Rael (12/11/01)

•Being a woman of color, and a lesbian at that, seeing your work was greatly inspiring to me.--Aisha Domingue (12/15/01)

•(To Jose Villegas): Your "generation" does not speak for mine, nor for the future. Que viva LA IDEA libre, la liberacion de nuestra raza!-- Sara Martinez, California (12/16/01)

•I opposed your exhibit in New Mexico because I truly believed that the administratrors of the Museum were using you as a tool to further their own idological and political views.--Octavio Romano (12/19/01)

•The New Mexico issue is complex at different levels. At my level, I will always protect my right to create work.--Alma Lopez (12/19/01)

•I love the earthiness of your guadalupe; my understanding of liberation theology IS its earthiness. god/dess is with us, here and now, enfleshed and all that! --una ni riain, MDiv, oakland CA (12/31/01)


Our Lady Emails November 2001(4)

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•She would have been singing your highest praises to everyone and anyone who would listen. --Meg Evans (11/02/01)

•Let me begin by congratulating you on your work, your tenacity, and your determination to keep Our Lady in public display, despite the controversies.--Estela Reyes López (11/04/01)

•Months ago when all the crap in Santa Fe was going on, I went to a website that showed many of your pieces.--Amanda Viltrakis (11/12/01)

•Your version of the Virgin of Guadalupe demands that its audience be able (and willing) to think two things at once: 1.) the Virgen as sacrosanct icon with all of its social, religious and cultural components and 2.) the same Virgen as a sensual (and sensuous) female that carries equally valid, yet distinctly different, social and cultural associations. --Mike Harper, Mt. San Antonio College (11/27/01)

Our Lady Emails October 2001(27)

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•I would like permission to use "Our Lady" with the "Iconoclast of the Week" feature. This part of the paper is dedicated to the Iconoclast, someone in the news who, like Alma Lopez, takes a stand for free thinking and demonstrates the courage to look for ideas or solutions outside the "safe" and socially dictated norm. --Don M. Fisher (10/01/01)

•Lopez work is not sexually explicit, nor is it particularly sexy. In spite of protests, which included a modified hunger strike, the museum let the exhibit stay.--Don M. Fisher (10/02/01)

•A newpaper picture of "Our Lady" is a part of the shrine in my house to my deceased mother.--Meg Evans (10/03/01)

•This is a sin and it is morally wrong, I think that you are a disgraceful bitch who has no respect for the one who crushes the serpent..--Edna Best (10/04/01)

•Contrary to what a number of others have said about your painting of OLG I was impressed and found that you had used good taste in your painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe. --Angeline Walczyk (10/04/01)

• The image of "Our Lady" forces me to take a second look at my own indoctrination where an exposed female body is seen as promiscuous and unholy.--Hector Alvarez (10/06/01)

•I am so glad that you created Our Lady. If I had not seen your artwork, I would have missed the opportunity of this very challenging and powerful spiritual exploration. --Sylvia Vergara (10/08/01)

•What a sad state of affairs if the most famous woman in history cannot be portrayed as a beautiful female with all her modesty intact! --Paul Villa (10/11/01)

•I find it hard to believe that anyone should want to have this work of art removed from a museum - particularly when the danger of any kind of religious 'extremism' has been made very clear by the recent attacks in New York and the subsequent military action in Afghanistan. --Mark Bridge (10/11/01)



•Article copied from German Newspaper F.A.Z. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung by Reinhard Reiter, Wiesbaden, Germany for your information.--Reinhard Reiter (10/12/01)

•The Limits of Artistic Freedom: Women Artists and Censorship--Svetlana Mintcheva (10/12/01)

•When you win a victory against censorship you win a victory for all Americans. --Dan (10/14/01)

•There is a series of articles on the Cyber Arte exhibit in today's paper.--Gloria Nieto (10/14/01)

•Santa Fe New Mexican article titled "'Cyber Arte' curator recounts the past several months of controversy"-- emailed by Gloria Nieto (10/14/01)

•The thing that really struck a chord in me was something I read a long time ago in a book about Mexico. It stated that the macho culture sees women as either saints or whores. You've managed to combine them . --adagio (10/15/01)

•The Catholic Church encourages machismo therefore as long as you adhere to any of their principles you are sleeping with the enemy, so to speak.-- Nikki (10/15/01)

•My husband wrote a letter to the Taos News about the lawyer priest from here who filed that lawsuit - saying if he really wanted to use his law degree, he should represent poor people on matters that really concern them.--Helen Lopez (10/15/01)

•That's why I took such tremendous issue with the MOIFA and dominant culture here pumping "Our Lady of What-a-looker", which I saw as more a capitulation to consumer culture rather than exhibiting a significant development of folk art traditions of our people. --Pedro Romero Sedeno (10/17/01)

•I'm really interested to know why you use the image of the 'Virgen Guadalupe' in your art. This is the first time that I have been expose to these images, therefore I would like to know more. --Mayra Leon (10/22/01)

•I like your virgin and cannot understand the harsh reaction to it. --Ruta Correa (10/22/01)

•My thesis (Master of Visual Art Theory) is on Miraculous Image: from apparition to website, with a chapter on the Virgin of Guadalupe in all her historical and contemporary mutations. --Jacinta Rooney (10/22/01)

•I am chicana and not a predominant church attender, still, I do see this as a form of disrespect.-- AMPaloma (10/24/01)

•The Museum of New Mexico and the Museum of International Folk Art are holding a private reception to mark the closing of the Cyber Arte: Tradition Meets Technology exhibition at the Museum of International Folk Art. --Dr. Tom Wilson, Director, Museum of New Mexico (10/24/01)

• I loved its irreverent humour and am glad the museum went on with exhibiting it despite the controversy. -- Chris Sternberg, Toronto, Canada (10/28/01)


Our Lady Emails September 2001 (7)

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•I recently viewed your incredible art at the Museum of International Folk Art and had to wish you many Felicidades on your inclusion in (and survival of) the CyberArte exhibit.--Martina C. Holguin (09/01/01)

•Just for kicks, check out the very last section in the book of Proverbs. These verses describe the epitome of Jewish womanhood as "girt with strength." Not exactly Mary meek and mild. The woman described gets things done. Think Mary at the Wedding of Cana prompting her son to DO something.--Stacey Raab (09/06/01)

•I would like to ask however why "Our Lady" is portrayed with her head up, and not down, seeing how she is a woman of humility. --Catherine Butler (09/10/01)

•I also do images of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and when I started my doctorate this year I knew that I somehow wanted to talk to other artists like myself who have been influeneced by sacred images, particularly Our Lady, and find out exactly what it is in the relationship with the image that has affected them and their work.--Sally Gradle (09/18/01)

•What an outstanding image of Our Lady of Guadalupe!--Peter C. Skye, Lexington, KY (09/24/01)

•I understand why people would regard this image as heresy. But if Our Lady of Guadalupe is indeed a living presence among the communion of saints and not just an idol, she must be accorded her sacred right to appear to and inspire artists to bring her to life ever new.--Peter C. Skye, Lexington, KY (09/24/01)

•Local media coverage of the Our Lady controversy did more to fan the flames of local discontent than it did to shed light on the underlying issues and problems, a cross section of community members told The New Mexican at a recent roundtable discussion. --S.F. New Mexican article sent by Gloria Nieto (09/24/01)

Our Lady Emails August 2001(19)

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•This poem is a small attempt on my part to support you.--Janet Tracy (08/05/01)

•I do, however, fully understand the others such as "purity," "modesty" and "innocence." These are clearly the product of a dominant culture that, despite the leaps and bounds that women have made, still perceives the female form as tainted, sexualized, and impure. --Wendy Hall (08/06/01)

•So what's happened?--Eugene Dean (08/07/01)

•For over 2 months, I had to deal with him attacking you on your design of the Virgin. --Irene Castruita (08/09/01)

•Congratulations on a successful exhibit. I was not aware of it until after-the-fact, but it seems to have generated quite a bit of interest.--William Moreno, San Mateo, CA (08/09/01)

•I saw your print in Santa Fe along with your other works and thought they were great. --Robert Starner, Albuquerque, NM (08/12/01)

•You had a great group of women and men writing important things about what happened. --Aida Mancillas, San Diego, CA (08/13/01)

•The museum is wonderful, and your artwork looks so perfect hanging there... a very powerful expression of you and your uniqueness. --Aggie Damron-Garner (08/13/01)

•It puzzles me that such an innocuous image could cause all the "alleged outrage". It also demonstrates how little the protesters, including the archbishop, understand about the first amendment.--Mortimer H. Herzstein, San Francisco, CA (08/14/01)

•I'd like you to know that I support your right to expression. The Roman church is a mess.--B. Willis (08/15/01)

•Our Lady is a wonderfully creative and playful work of art. It provokes emotion and thought and creates dialog about about what constitutes art in general. --Lucinda Gaston (08/17/01)

•We would also be greatly honored if you would allow us to display your image, since your piece inspired the idea for this event. We hope to display Vigen images that depict generational shifts of views regarding the Virgen, and the relationships that are shared by the artists who are selected.--Violeta L. Ramirez, Cynthia V. Anzaldua, and Viola D. Valdez, Ixachilan Cultural Center(08/18/01)

•Frankly, we liked "Our Lady". --Jim Saunders(08/19/01)

•Do you plan to be in Santa Fe when they take you print down?--Pedro(08/20/01)

• And I must say I was surprised by how much opposition you have faced in Santa Fe.--Jennifer Rosen (08/26/01)

•I wanted to write to you about the play. Rosalia Triana got an email from the Museum saying that they wanted to do the play in the spring. Of course I was disappointed because I wanted to do it now before the exhibit comes down.--Sylvia Vergara (08/27/01)

•I came out against the Museum of Folk Art here in New Mexico (and MOCMA, tambien) and its propping up relevance for Alma Lopez' corny girlie poster of the Image of Guadalupe, and I have come out against the Museum of New Mexico before.--Pedro Romero Sedeno (08/29/01)

•the 2001 santa fe melodrama opened last week. this traditional spoof of life in santa fe, allows us to make satirical comments on all aspects of life here as we know it. of course, this year, your beautiful "virgin" was one of the biggest controversies and we have included it in our story.--Beverly Berger (08/30/01)

•i just wanted to tell you how much i love your digital artwork, especially the virgen...--Alba (08/31/01)


Our Lady Emails July 2001 (47)

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•Sheehan does not speak for the Church in New Mexico.--Yuvonnia Kornegay Owen (07/01/01)

•If there ever was a need to educate our population regarding freedom of speech and in particular the right of the artist to create without fear-it is now.--Bruce L. Papier, Santa Fe, New Mexico (07/01/01)

•To take away your voice is to take away my own and too many people forget that these days. --Adriana C. Lopez, Stanford MEChA Co-chair 2001, Fort Wayne, Indiana (07/01/01)

• Someone wrote a rant against you and all Manitos. He said that the artist of the Naked Virgin was being persecuted. --Octavio Romano (07/03/01)

•LA artist Alma Lopez was back in Santa Fe, NM again June 30, this time praising the Museum of New Mexico for "It's really the good heart of the museum to compromise."--Pedro Romero Sedeno (07/03/01)

•I stand by you and the courage and vision you have shown.--Clif Johnson (07/03/01)

•I am a Chicana, seventeen years old, with aspirations to be an artist. i can say the Alma Lopez has truly been an aspiration for me. Art is a very important part of my life, and I would also fight for my right to my self-expression. --Marcela O. Garcia, Milwaukee, WI (07/03/01)

•Ironic that when all is said and done, you've raised sound and fury but stand in league with Alma in taking a religious icon out of the church and onto the public forum. --Michael Sedano (07/04/01)

•I saw several of your wonderful artworks at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe last month, and found them very moving and passionate in their social, political, and economic statements. -- Joan Ablon (07/04/01)

• Somehow, for me, it is embarrassing to explain to him, and so many other Mexicans I encounter, about the useless journey in Santa Fe called "our Lady" by Alma Lopez, an Ugly American girlie poster that pseudo-progressive "Chicanos" like Michael Sedano continue to defend as truth, oblivious to what the traditional Guadalupe means to millions of the Mexican culture.--Pedro Romero Sedeno (07/05/01)

•You are no different than Ayatollah Kohmeini when he issued the fatwah against Salman Rushdie... pseudo-progressive "Chicanos" like Michael Sedano continue to defend as truth, oblivious to what the Truth? Sedano does not defend it as "truth" but as an artistic interpretation. --Urrutia (07/05/01)

•Follow your heart, and thanks for your courage.--Clif Johnson (07/05/01)

•The case of the Naked Virgin is not an attack against the institution, it is an attack against the poor people of northern NM, with the collusion of California Chicnoas who preach daily about mutual respect, but when the chispas are down, they reveal, 1: a disdain toward the Hispanos of NM, and 2: a growing disdain for things Mexican. This dual prejudice, in California, goes under the name of "Progressive."--Octavio Romano (07/06/01)

•In this day and age I find it amazing that Chicanos still uphold catholicism and "sacred" images like la virgen. Catholicism and la virgen we're meant to pacify us. Looks like it worked (especially in New Mexico).--Calaca (07/06/01)

•There is definately a history of anti-catholic church sentiment in Mexico. Unfortunately more people have bought into the church.-- Calaca (07/06/01)

•My insight is what your friend who is the subject in Our Lady not only is like Willy in a sense, but moreso, she has a lot in common with the Mother Mary. Was Mary given the choice of having a baby or not? It seems to me she was ordered or told without any consideration given to how she felt about it.--Sheryl Bradley, Denver, CO (07/06/01)

•Artists do have "rights", the free will to create, and to miscreate. --Pedro Romero Sedeno (07/08/01)

•What about artists' rights, I believe in his heart he understands this well. --Rudy Fernandez (07/08/01)

•It is not for you or I to pick and choose what those rights will be but rather to attempt to defend them as they stand. An erosion of this institution in in any form is a setback for all of us.--Rudy Fernandez (07/08/01)

•I am extremely sick and tired of people writing intolerant e-mails to Pedro Ramirez Sedeño of New Mexico. exhorting him to be tolerant.--Octavio Romano (07/08/01)

•I would like for you to please explain to me is how the Alma piece became a direct attack on Los Hermanos Penitentes.--Rudy Fernandez (07/09/01)

•Yes, we all have rights, to express and dissent; I have a right to dissent and to submit my heresies or "rants" against the AlmaNet party line. --Pedro Romero Sedeno (07/09/01)

• Alma's "Our lady" is a revolt against the ecclesiastical tyranny of a religious instituion, but remains stuck in bondage to secular totalitarianism.--Pedro Romero Sedeno (07/10/01)

•Please be informed that I totally, irrevocably, and permanently refuse to play the game of "All Latino mans are bad mans."--Octavio Romano (07/11/01)

•I guess I bring this up to start a dialogue about sexism in the Mexican/Chican@ culture since some of the discussion on this list these past months has bordered on blatant sexism against women, in the name of "La Virgen."--Marco Loera (07/12/01)

•In regards to sexism in the debate about "La Virgen", both Alma Lopez and Judy Chicago have made sexist assessments of the Santa Fe community which is opposed to the poster. --Pedro Romero Sedeno (07/12/01)

•Is a female more evil than an evil male in the same position in this system? Is a question of gender not relevant in this matter?--Marco Loera (07/12/01)

•I find the controversy both absurd and believable.--Alessandra Moctezuma (07/14/01)

•I'm sorry to hear that it has generated negative publicity,but then isn't that true of much great art?--Cynthia Mooney (07/17/01)

•And I can see that you are not using the image of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (el sr villegas does not know how to pronounce her name even he said Nuestra de Guadalupe).--Luis F. Aranda, Leon Guanajuato.Mex (07/19/01)

•It is a very good art piece , i like your composition and post modern/ traditional colors.--Tara (07/19/01)

•Who was the mother of Mother Earth? Who was the father of Mother Earth?--Octavio Romano (07/19/01)

•"mother Earth", of the planet Urantia, that being the name of our world acoording to the Urantia revelation, is planet 606 in the local system of Satania, a system of inhabited planets in the larger local universe of Nebadon, which is located in a larger superuniverse called Orvonton. --Pedro Romero Sedeno (07/20/01)

•Clearly the Urantia book delved deeply into what we call "religion," producing questions with answers instead of simply accepting the generic concept of "religion" as the end of all knowledge, thus making inquiry superflous and unnecessary.--Octavio Romano (07/20/01)

•In a religious context the floral bikini would be wholly inappropriate. Yet in a public or private art gallery it is our GOD giving free will, that fuels creative thought.--Darryl Deloach (07/20/01)

• In follow-up to the article, the head of the Museum of New Mexico has decided that Alma Lopez' work will remain on display. Though the issue will now proceed for consideration to the museum's board of regents, that group will probably not be able to schedule a hearing or make any decision until after the exhibit is scheduled to come down, at the end of October. --Hollis Walker, Writer/Editor, Santa Fe, New Mexico (07/23/01)

•It is my belief that religious fundamentalist, no matter what their belief systems, are the most dangerous force in our world today and will use any means available to stifle our freedoms.--Oscar Singleton (07/23/01)

•Alma, keep up the good work, and ignore all those nut case Chicanos y Chicanas getting all worked up over the Virgin Mary.--d'Israeli (07/24/01)

•Also mil gracias to all the wonderful family and friends who have lived this with me. --Alma Lopez (07/27/01)

•i thought it was a wonderful exhibition, in the true spirit of cultural connection that is a hallmark of that museum. -- Mary Chandler, Rocky Mountain News, Denver, CO (07/27/01)

•Congratulations Alma at your success in making your voice heard; your victory in this struggle affects all Chicana arists and latina women.--Yolanda M. Lopez, San Francisco, CA (07/27/01)

•And it is my hope that persons such as yourself and others continue to forge ahead with these views so that perhaps our daughters and their daughters will have the opportunity to achieve full equality and peace with their brothers.--E. M. Swindle (07/29/01)

•I'm still working on my thesis and I was thinking about incorporating the story behind "Our Lady" and by that I mean the story of Raquel.--Esperanza Martinez (07/30/01)

•RIGHT ON!--Evelyn A. Schlatter (07/30/01)

•I hope you are well and that all the craziness that was happening has subsided.--Yolanda Sanchez (07/30/01)

•I believe as other artist's do, the need to express our own individuality by using our minds and creativity into something for all to share , whether it is appealing to others or not.--Veronica Blanco "Roni", San Diego, CA (07/31/01)

•"the flowers symbolize she's motherearth"-- Melissa Lopez, Berkeley, CA (07/31/01)


Our Lady Emails June 2001 (50)

(Click on date for complete email)

•Aside from the fact that this art is protected by free speech laws, it is clear to me after reading the article in the Los Angeles Times (May 27) that Ms. Lopez meant no disrespect to the Catholic religion.--Laurie Betlach, Santa Fe, New Mexico (06/04/01)

•As a Salish writer I am committed to the "right to voice and the obligation to express". -- lee maracle (06/12/01)

•It is important for artist and musuem to have the freedom to express their creativity and spirituality. --Patricia A. Montgomery (06/12/01)

•I finally figured out what ticks me off so much about the LupeSirena payasadas and CyberChapel, here in N.M., is that it has made a circus of the religious folk art tradition, a tradition which is "de lo nuestro", of us manito/raza. -- Pedro Romero Sedeño, New Mexico (06/13/01)

•i think your work is great and no matter what anyone says you should keep expressing your opinions and you cant always please everyone but that doesn't mean you should stop what your doing.--mariam (06/13/01)

•Regarding one's faith, an image should not shake one's faith unless one actually has no faith...--Roberto Rodriguez (06/13/01)

•Why do you feel it necessary to depict Our Lady as a defiant, provocative ,"in your face" woman? She is the gentle, loving Mother of Our Lord- you cheapen her and all womankind by your depiction.--Gerrigerling (06/13/01)

•I admire these women for producing such controversy-prone work but by employing such obvious and loaded topics: sex and religion, Alma and Raquel risk the central merit of the piece.--Sergio Zentenooppose you now are too far from the truth to understand that their own rights have been, and will be, imperiled, by the very same tacitcs they are using against you.--Noel Wynn (06/13/01)

•Commandeering this image to give relevance to one's own political agenda, as Alma Lopez has done, trivializes the esteem or value (syn.: respect) many Mejicanos and Nuevo Mejicanos have for the traditional image and its role in their personal experience. --Pedro Romero Sedeño, New Mexico (06/13/01)

•It saddens me that, as a man who is looked to for leadership by so many, Archbishop Sheehan missed the opportunity to enlighten his people. He could have taught them that a graven image is only an image. He could have taught them that the Lady of Guadalupe is really about truths of human compassion that are more real than a mere image painted on rough cloth.--Ernest Garcia, New Mexico (06/14/01)

•What disturbs me more than the art is the response to it... --Roberto Rodriguez (06/14/01)

•Our Lady has a thousand faces. Thank you for representing one of them so courageously.--Erica Hill (06/14/01)

•I have found that all the communication from Mr. Sedano has been a misdirection of energy. --Traveisa/Margaret Garcia, Los Angeles, CA (06/15/01)

•Alma´s trivialization of a real Spirt, la Madre Celestial, is what I have consistently challenged, as well as the Raquel Salinas poster, with a call for respect for Spirit and truth, as well as Hispano and Mejicano traditions and cultural identity.--Pedro Romero Sedeño, New Mexico (06/16/01)

•Honestly, I believe this is the most flattering portrait of the Virgin I have ever seen. --Becky Ewing (06/16/01)

•i support any artwork that encourages and provokes thought and discussion.--moto (06/17/01)

•Persecution and Genocide in the name of Religion, Economics, Politics and Cleansing.--Alma Martinez (06/17/01)

•There will always be those who cannot see a woman as anything but a sex object, especially if the parts of her body we have arbitrarily decided are 'obscene' are shown.--Carmen Beaudry (06/18/01)

•Artists, through the ages, have helped us see the world a different way -- and this artwork is no exception.--Chris Chrisman, Queretaro, Mx (06/18/01)

•You are communicating a very important message because it is a basic and simple truth that has yet to gain universal acceptance.--Alan Nakagawa (06/18/01)

•You will go to hell for this bad image called "Our Lady"--Ibrahim Labib (06/20/01)

• I think that your depiction of the Virgin is OK. --Manuel Gurule (06/20/01)

•you have everyone in an uproar over your interoperation of art.--ralph layman (06/20/01)

•Yo, no veo absolutamente nada de malo en tus pinturas, al contrario creo que lo que has creado es muy "al punto+" como mujer latina tus pintura son muy llena de vitalidad, valor, energia etc. etc.--Lizett Morgan (06/21/01)

•Thank you very much, Alma Lopez, for letting us get a closer look at whom the enemy (satan) is using now against God's people. --Dora Gallardo (06/23/01)

•Take heart and remember that any kind of criticism is good if it makes people think about art. --Linda Sorrick (06/23/01)

•Being an Atheist Hispanic woman, I do not see a disrespectful image.--Lynn (06/25/01)

•Thoughout history artist have portrayed the holy family in many ways.Michael Angelo painted naked angels all over the celing to the Sistine Chapel.--Michael Carlisle (06/25/01)

•I can see why some people mightbe offended. But u do have your right of self-expression.--Herman Segovia (06/25/01)

• I don't want to say that I found it offensive, but I didn't like it.--Jesse Galvan (06/25/01)

•Although I don't like some of the "art" out there, I do respect others views.--Tony (06/25/01)

•I wanted to write a quick email saying that this New Mexican supports you and your work. "Our Lady" is a powerful and bold statement that should be shared. --Doug Bocaz-Larson (06/26/01)

•People that cannot appreciate your art should get a life. --DavidH (06/26/01)

• En algún momento ha causado controversía no solamente en donde se exhibe la obra, sino en todo latinoamérica.--Paul Velazquez (06/26/01)

•In essence, the piece could be interpreted as a desecration of a holy icon. --Steve DaLuz (06/26/01)

•You do have the freedom to create what you want. I just don't think you understand what the Virgin Mary means to so many people and because of that you have created something vulgar. --Nancy Richard (06/27/01)

•Es muy tonta su idea la verdad y es una ofensa a quienes profesamos la religión católica y sobre todo a quienes nacimos en México y somos creyentes de la virgen guadalupana...--Norma Leticia Noriega Velázquez (06/27/01)

•Eres una puerca por mezclar lo religioso con tus pendejadas.--Horacio López Ramírez (06/27/01)

•¿Qué te motivo a realizar "nuestra señora"?, ¿En algún momento te sentiste que estabas faltando contra algo?-- Paul Velazquez (06/27/01)

•Women are comfortable with female bodies, but many men are awed or frightened by them.--Gila Jones (06/28/01)

•por que se ocupan tanto de nuestras creencias religiosa, las consideran tan fuertes que quieren destruirlas, o considera que creatividad artistica es tan pobre que tiene que recurrir a crear polemica escandalosa para sobresalir y darse a conocer..--MARY (06/28/01)

•Respect Our Lady do not mock her for a dollar.--Conchita Lucero (06/28/01)

•La Verdad no creo que seas mexicana un mexicano ama y respeta a su madre en la tierra y a la del cielo.--Jose Antonio R Gonzalez (06/29/01)

•We need to continue to create a space for ourselves, and it is artists such as yourself that give us the strength and inspiration to do so. --Lolita Roibal, KUNM radio (06/29/01)

•Al decirte que admiro tu trabajo y me solidarizo contigo por lo que te ha tocado enfrentar (yo también he desafiado "el orden" y me ha caído encima el fundamentalismo religioso), te envío un artículo (en texto y también adjunto en formato RTF) que publiqué hoy en mi columna en el diario Siglo Veintiuno de Guatemala.--Laura E. Asturias, Diario Siglo Veintiuno, Guatemala (06/30/01)

•Estas supuestas defensoras de la mujer le faltan el respeto a María de Nazareth, una Mujer que no escribió nada, pero que tuvo la valentía de estar de pie junto a la cruz de su hijo, que supo ser ejemplo para todos con el testimonio de su vida intachable con la que enaltece a toda mujer. --Ari Castañeda (06/30/01)

•A católicos como nuestra familia nos da pena que tengan necesidad de utilizar nuestra fe y creencias con propósitos mundanos y comerciales. (06/30/01)

•And all I see is the devil hovering above you, but don't despair because Christ is here, too. --Fatima Rodriguez Herrera (06/30/01)

•Personally, I do not find your interpretation to be at all offensive. However, I do not find that your rendition puts La Virgen in a position of strength. --Tracy Blanchette (06/30/01)

•I completely agree that no one, has a right to censor works of Art -- it completely defies the purpose of having exhibitions of this nature that promote work by Latinas.--Francis Villalpando (06/30/01)


Our Lady Emails May 2001 (163)

(Click on date for complete email)

•Threats, name calling and other forms of intimidation are not what I consider to be Christian practices. I was present at both meetings held regarding the exhibit and I saw that the protestors against Our Lady, at the first meeting, were not above committing violence in order to get their way.--Teresa M.(5/22/01)

•Like you, although other issues are clear and obvious, I believe the real problem is that many men can't tolerate independent, self-assured women...--Freda Elliot (5/22/01)

•Your strong images of La Virgen de Guadalupe has influenced a lot on my Chicana Lesbian identity.--Chary Olmedo (5/22/01)

•Because of my opinions held concerning the naked virgin exhibited at MOIFA, I have been banished from participating in the CHICLE listserve.--Octavio Romano (5/22/01)

•I can see how traditionalists might be offended, but yours would not be the first piece of religious art that did that.--Paul Vale (5/2/012)

•Now tell me, in what state of mind (abnormal), could you justifity degrading the most sacred woman to ever grace this planet.--Mike Gratz (5/22/01)

•Congrats on the decision, and just so you know, you have another supporter.--Anthony Belanger (5/22/01)

•It is truly a work of art. --Armando Camarena (5/22/01)

•Do some of us a favor, do not compare a woman's strength with your vulgarity, you do not speak for all Latin Women. You speak only from the trash you are and most likely from the Devil that speaks through you.--Maria (5/22/01)

•..of course, everyone is threatening to sue everyone. the saga continues....--Dorinda Moreno (5/22/01)

•So, right now, the Board of Regents are fighting with who has the authority to decide or not decide.--Barrio Warrior (5/22/01)

•I just wanted to send you a note expressing my approval of your art, and that I in no way find it pornographic, sexually oriented, vulgar, sacreligious, or offensive. I found it to be a stimulating, interesting piece, and have returned to view it numerous times.--Dale Redd (5/22/01)

•....your version of our lady is a changed one,just as the Catholic church has changed,and your work is a reflection of our society.--Quijoteuno (5/22/01)

•It angers me the way you portray your self and your culture.--Juan Sosa (5/22/01)

•God gave us our bodies as a precious gift and you have belittled that gift.--Elva Buchanan (5/22/01)

•I don’t find anything offensive about the image you created, on the contrary I think it’s great since it provokes thought and discussion on the subject of religion.--Santiago Avila (5/22/01)

•...and then began to rave about blasphemy against our blessed mother and he wanted Alma's address so he could go and burn down her house. He added that Catholics would not take this shit. . --Laura M. May (5/23/01)

•Frank V. Ortiz, Museum of New Mexico regent, is under fire and several calls have been made for his resignation for his views and letters that he wrote regarding the controversy over the Our Lady art work.--Chicle (5/23/01)

•CyberArte, as curated by Tey Marianna Nunn, is a slam against the Catholic institution and is a bulldozing of traditional culture, as in the tradition of religious folk art in NM which is based on PenitenteCatholic expression.--Pedro Sedeno (5/23/01)

•I wish Teresa had described in more detail so sedeno could see his blind hatred through the reasoned and eyes of people who don't know his aztlannet persona.--Michael Sedeno (5/23/01)

•This is a request to the moderator, Teresa Marquez, who holds opinions contrary to mine, to kindly furnish me with the reason for this abrupt and unannounced termination.--Octavio Romano (5/23/01)

•It is great to be in America where I can form opinions and express my views without fear of repression from those who hold opposing thoughts or ideas.--Teresa M., Chicle (5/23/01)

•if, as you say, you are "banished" owing to your opinions, why ask for an explanation why you were "banished"?--Michael Sedeno (5/23/01)

•I've read Octavio's criticisms concerning the work of Alma Lopez, and I wonder where his head is. He is preaching censorship - which doesn't surprise me. --Joe Olvera, Chicle (5/23/01)

•I write to you to let you know how offended I am by your blasphemous treatment of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.--David Obeid (5/23/01)

•You are a big shame to our religion and I think you need serious help. I spit on you.--Jenny O'Grady (5/23/01)

•What you have done to the Mother of God is a sacrilege.--Kyrie Eleison (5/23/01)

•No one is attacking you as an artist or being a woman, nor your rights being violated but, rather a particular work of art that is tasteless and offensive.--Julian Sanchez (5/23/01)

•I have seen the picture of Our Blessed Lady in a two peice swimsuit. It is disgusting and a sacrilege.--Tony Souied (5/23/01)

•Sadly, this image only exploits women and definately offends. --Erika Sajben (5/23/01)

•E' una profanazione grave nei confronti della Vergine Maria. NON E' ARTE!--DegAng (5/23/01)

•Your portrayal of Our Lady of Guadalupe is not art, but a direct reflection of your feminist view.Our Lady was neither a feminist, nor independent.--Khalil Elias (5/23/01)

•You are disgracing the name of a beutiful person, the true Virgin Mary. --LRLynnrcl (5/23/01)

•I suggest you get a life rather than trying to portray those in your dirty mind as holy characters,--jane dot (5/23/01)

•In my opinion Guadalupe is beautiful and any image of her that is meant to be a sign of respect should not be vilified but embraced!!!--Robert Elvidge (5/23/01)

•I, also, am of Mexican descent. I am an Artist living in New Orleans. I think the picture of "Our Lady" is a disgrace to God and His mother.--Katherine Kelley (5/23/01)

•I also find it very interesting that this, the most Mexican of images, is embraced so strongly by a population that according to the Alb. Journal, finds it very difficult to admit being Mexican (ethnically).--Miguel Acosta (5/23/01)

•I'm glad to hear the news about the exhibit, but obviously distressed to hear you are being threatened.--Eliza Rodriguez y Gibson (5/23/01)

•Poor taste. No redeeming effort. Why?--ANTQUELADY (5/23/01)

•Not that it makes a difference, but may God have mercy on your soul.--Thomas J. Willke, MD (5/23/01)

•This is nothing but obscene blasphamy.--Ed Toner (5/23/01)

•If someone does not like the painting, then they may say so, but to have the painting removed is ridiculous. --Steve.Preston (5/23/01)

•But continue to do art that you like, either way people will hate and love you so do what you want to do.--fridachips (5/23/01)

•While your arguments of freedom of speech and "showing Mary in a modern sense" are good for the liberal media and schismatics among the Catholic Church, there are many, especially converts who cherish the Church for its Tradition, who find this work offensive.--Caleb Foshee (5/23/01)

• I just wanted to say that my heart is with you and that I support you and your work (it's beautiful).--EloisaEloisa de Leon (5/23/01)

•As per my views, I wish Alma Lopez, nor her fans, no ill will as mi gente. I just think her pseudo-Guadalupe posters are stupid and unethical.--Pedro Romero Sedeno (5/23/01)

•Although I'm neither Hispanic nor Catholic, I entirely support your work in both its content and quality, and its social vision. I find your expressions fascinating, and urge you to be strong and continue.--Bill Rigg (5/23/01)

• Just think...not too many years ago the church would have tried you...done a bit of torture to keep the sadists happy and in practice...then burned you at the stake with an audience to cheer on the flames. --Dan McCoy (5/23/01)

•I'm in Santa Fe, and I object to your assessment of the Santa Fe opposition as "small town culture" mentality. --Pedro Romero Sedeno (5/24/01)

•as per the "liberation" inspired by Alma's Lady, come on, it looks like a pseudo-Guadalupe costume for the Academy Awards.--Pedro Romero Sedeno (5/24/01)

•Most of the outraged people admit that they have not even seen the piece, yet they say it is inmoral, unethical, so on... I believe that more Chicana/os should support Chicana art. --Raquel Solis (5/24/01)

•'Committee on Sensitive Materials.' Their recommendation definitely were not sensitive to the situation at hand, this was a, 'Partner in Crime,'' decision. It is only going to escalate the matter of the 'lady' to a boiling point.-- Julian Sanchez (5/24/01)

•I am sorry, but your depiction of Our Lady of Guadalupe is just not respectful of Our Lady. --JWatson (5/24/01)

•I do not find your work as being sacrilegious in anyway, on the contrary, I see your work as sending out a powerful message, that which empowers the women as viewing themselves in a different perspective, in a new light.--Claudia Encinas (5/24/01)

•I think your depiction of Our Lady is beautiful, tasteful and contemporary, fit for the enlightened view of women that now prevails throughout the western world. She is truly a Blessed Virgin for the 21st Century.--Ida Vega (5/24/01)

•I happen to think that artists have the right to express themselves. Period.--Alain Chabot (5/24/01)


•I think you're making bold and NECESSARY statements on how society at large perceives Latinas, Catholicism in context to Chicanos/as, and most importantly, Latinas can re examine themselves (through technology, especially) and liberate themselves from the stereo/typical roles imposed upon them by stringent sociocultural mores that affect both Latino and Angloamerican cultures...--Jerry Medrano, Assistant Curator, El Paso Museum of Art (5/24/01)

•...and this whole Alma Lopez collage ordeal feels like a deep cut on my veins/vains..--Barrio Warrior (5/24/01)

•How sad someone like you to have "God" given talent and defile as you have "Our Lady of Guadalupe". --Louise Pfau (5/24/01)

•I beleive that you have the right to express one self.--Bernard Garcia (5/24/01)

•I am glad to hear that the museum's committee has rightfully decided not to remove Alma Lopez' "Our Lady" from display over the recent hubbub. However, I find your decision to close the entire exhibit early "in the spirit of reconciliation" to be spineless and counterproductive to efforts to maintain freedom of speech.--Bill.Bordac (5/24/01)

•The fact that an appeal process exists should not be construed as a lack of commitment or "spine" on the part of the Committee.--Laura M. May (5/24/01)

•The Virgin has no owner. No religion exists that can claim exclusive ownership over her as a symbol.--Norma Gonzalez (5/24/01)

•It is shocking that in this day that the female body continues to be demonized.--Jessica Marten (5/24/01)

•I am writting to tell you that I think your work is great.--Silvia I. Gonzalez (5/24/01)

•I am a Chicana who is glad that the Virgen of Guadalupe is being seen in a new light. --Nicole Cruz (5/24/01)

•I LIKED IT!--Ernesto A Carrion Jr (5/24/01)

•Hey I think that you have guts to do on what you did to the Virgin Mary. --Alberto Gonzalez (5/24/01)

•I am very religious and think that a womens body is precious especially the virgen Mary. --Laura Ramos (5/24/01)

•The Catholic church needs to realize that your work is not sacreligious but a testament of your adoration for the Virgen de Guadalupe. --Jacob Moraga (5/24/01)

•Just in the last week i have heard from artists (in different instances) who have said that Albuquergue museums will not show work that may seem controversial and the Hispanic Cultural Center board would like to review the work before the shows are hung. If curators can't do their jobs or are not trusted, what is the point?-- Elena Baca (5/24/01)

•I want to be the virgen dressed in roses, showing skin,hands on my hips, legs apart, steady gaze saying, whuut, ‘ey?-- Rocio Carlos (5/24/01)

•I think your work personifies feminine strength and beauty and I welcome an image of the Virgin relevant to modern times rather than the thousand-year-old, solemn images I was taught to revere.--Jetplastika (5/24/01)

•How can a 2 piece swim suit show the Virgin Mary as a "Strong, independent Woman?"--Sylvia Schomburg (5/24/01)

•My prayer for you my friend is that you will not let others re-focus your attention away from what the Lord has placed upon your heart. --Jeffrey Zumwalt (5/24/01)

•You have targeted a specifically Catholic icon because you know that we will not burn your house down.--John Gresser (5/25/01)

•I love Alma's work...the church has kept the female in bondage for thousands of years and now as the female starts to claim and take back her power the church can't stand it.--mark west (5/25/01)

•I can't believe so much hate is being generated over a piece of artwork.--Lizette Sanchez (5/25/01)

•Our divisions are hostile, and embittered, que lastima. It isn't always a Califas / Nuevo Mejico split as there is plebe in both places with both opinions.--gilbert lujan (5/25/01)

•pedro, puro pedo. you have no respect for ideas not your own.--Dorinda Moreno (5/25/01)

•La Tilma is SACRED, Alma y fans, what part of SACRED don't you understand?.--Pedro Romero Sedeno (5/25/01)

•pedro, you can continue to show your nalgas if you want to i could care less--Dorinda Moreno (5/25/01)

•Alma's idol-poster is in my community here and her defenses of her work are built on lies about my community, and it is her lies about my community that drew me into this dialogue in the first place. --Pedro Romero Sedeno (5/25/01)

•I love your depiction of the Guadalupe, it is beautiful--JoAnn Boscarino (5/25/01)

•I also believe that Alma has the right to do what she is doing.--Lizette Sanchez (5/25/01)

•some people are light years ahead of the others and some prefer to stay clutching on to straws. adelante mujeres!!!!!--Dorinda Moreno (5/25/01)

•During this whole controversy, I haven't known whether I should be laughing in public... that all this devotion to this Mexican image... by people who mostly wouldn't be caught dead identifying as Mexican.--Roberto Rodriguez, Column of the Americas (5/25/01)

•I was stuck by her beauty and power.--Sarah Dunckel, San Antonio artist (5/25/01)

•I thank you for your portrayal of Our Lady. As a Catholic, I am grateful for the joy which it contains--Stephen A. Vaughn (5/25/01)

•If there is any decency left in you, it is not too late to make amends. Even Mary Magdalene was forgiven...--Maria Ana Corpuz (5/26/01)

•In the year 2001, some people, mainly from California, with the aid of California artist, Alma Lopez, and the administrative staff of the New Mexico Museum of International Folk Arts, tried to kill La Virgen de Guadalupe, the apparition that became sacred to the people of Mexico, just as Tonantzin, the indigenous goddess, had been sacred, and whom the Catholic Spaniards had also tried to kill, and failed.--Octavio Romano (5/26/01)

•Art is our contemporary work and thinking, it includes some history and the ability to be insightful and illuminating. Art can also be spiritual, inspiring, symbolic, innovative, popular and unpopular to the viewer.-- Guillermo Bejarano (5/26/01)

•I am writing in regards to your "Our Lady" artwork, which I think is amazing.--Angela Perri (5/26/01)

•In all due respect to the learned Dr. you continually overlook the fantaticism practiced by those people who feel that they are solely the receipients and patrons of La Virgen de Guadalupe. Many of us, myself included feel we have as much claim to her as do our New Mexico cousins. -- Margaret Garcia, Artist (5/26/01)

•about the prayer vigil, i think Now the church is taking advantage of this situation to establish and reestablish the church/members. --Leticia Lopez (5/26/01)

•I also find the biased opinions of male figures in the church to be just that-biased male opinions!--Heidi Logar (5/26/01)

•When I see our lady I feel a sense of innocence that has been lost to a society seeped in lust and crudity.--Pablo Jose Jaramillo (5/26/01)

•Having read a number of articles on your interpretation of the traditional Our Lady of Guadalupe, I "knew" your work was trashy, etc. Having actually now viewed your piece of art, I am using my time to share with you my response, assuming this type of feedback to be of some help to you during the now resolved crisis in Santa Fe (i.e. the decision made this past week to continue to show your work this year - giving me plenty of time now to see it in person!) --M. Murray (05/27/01)

•I think you have come up with a clever way to get noticed. -- Christopher Hall (05/27/01)

•Imagine the old men of the Catholic Church thinking they have the right to dictate anything about imagery or censorship, look at what they've done over the centuries beginning with the Spanish Inquisition, not to mention the destruction of the history of Mexico. --Randy Pesqueira (05/27/01)

• Your Virgen de Gudalupe is a beautiful art expression with a strong message about women and their right to be proud of our bodies and to do with them as we please. --Milena (05/27/01)

•I am grateful that artists like you are in this world... doing the spiritual work of Bernini and Michelangelo...--thomas impelluso (05/27/01)

•I encourage and support your artistic expression as well as all free speech issues.--William Husted (05/27/01)

•...the censorship and heavy-handed methods used to coerce compliance are abhorrent. -- Shaunna Kelley-Zavala, writer (05/27/01)

•Thanks for fighting the good fight for all of us who believe in free expression.--dan (05/27/01)

•One of the roles of the artist is to offer a new way of looking at things that we no longer see.--Daniel A. Olivas (05/27/01)

•The depiction you created in your Virgin of Guadalupe says more about you, your emotions & feelings than it does about the Lady who appeared to Juan Diego.--Vi Patmas,
Mission Viejo, California (05/27/01)

•Irrationality, or fear of breaking with tradition?--Delia Magallón (05/27/01)

•And I really can't digest an "immaculate conception."--cbayless (05/27/01)

•I am not Catholic so I am not into The Madonna, but I think that it is awful that you would belittle a person's religion, and try to justify it with such a lame excuse.--Dana Garland (05/27/01)

•You do not need to title your work "Our Lady" because it is not our lady; it is your lady. --Debra A. Rossa, A Catholic and former resident of New Mexico (05/27/01)

•If you call your rendition of the Virgin of Guadalupe art, then all I can say to you and about you is that you are one sick individual.--Un Brujito (05/27/01)

•I admire the stand you have taken for your art and for freedom of artistic expression. --Jerry Olson, Huntington Beach (05/27/01)

•I think your painting is provocative and beautiful. makes me look at mary as a person, not an icon.--Gerald Lundy (05/27/01)

• This is not a freedom of expression issue; this is not a cultural rights issue. It is simply offensive to depict God's beautiful creations in such a way.--Marcia E Warmkessel (05/27/01)

•I wonder if some people are put off because the woman in your figure looks too casual, with her hands on her hips and one hip to the side.--John C. King (05/27/01)

•You are mocking one of our most religious figures in an effort to draw attention to yourself.--Harvey Lord (05/27/01)

•The ironic thing is that the very thing that you accuse Mary of being is her greatest strenght. Rather than being a strong woman, she chose to be humble.--Joe Melendrez,Brentwood, California (05/27/01)

• I think this is a very tasteful work of art, maybe people have a problem because a female artist created the picture and not a man; considering this world is full of double standards when it comes to male and female behavior and/or actions.--Kathy (05/27/01)

•Keep up the great work. You have my support.--Margaret Quinones (05/27/01)

•The truth is Amercia is importing the worst aspects of Europe: Religous intolerance and religious attempts of controling social life.--Antonio Picon Romero (05/27/01)

• I truly believe that art, and very often that art which breaks from tradition or rules most of all, has the power to teach, heal, connect, and potentially elevate us as individuals and as people in a way that would not otherwise be possible.--Shane Sligh, San Diego, CA (05/27/01)

•As a student of Latin American affairs and politics, I find the present controversy regarding your interpretation of the Virgin of Guadalupe quite baffling -- in the principal sense that a religious icon cannot be said to pertain undivisibly to one entity (ie. the church institution).--A. Stevenson, Pembroke College, Oxford University (05/28/01)

•A Latina at last who doesn't have to kiss anyone's ass to be proud of herself, and her own beautiful brown body.--Steven Montaño (05/28/01)

•I have to be brutally honest....this is crap.-- Marhysa Naumann (05/28/01)

•Why try to censor a woman from an under-served community who is one of the few to reclaim her voice as an artist and to be able to question submissive images of women of color by replacing such images with an image that is more true to her own experience? Why? Because she and your museum are easier targets.--Leilani Chan, Artistic Director, TeAda Productions (05/28/01)

•Personally, I think it's good.--Harold Smith (05/28/01)

•True, you may want to "express" yourself and hide behind the Constitution, but I view it as sacreligous and your trying to force feed your ideas on others under the premiss of "art".-- AAngieCampbell (05/28/01)

•Look at a photograph of your great or great great grandmother or aunts......they will be dressed in the style of the period they lived.--Pat (05/28/01)

•I am offended by the attitudes of those people who rant against a work of art.--Dave Roscoe, North Bay Ontario Canada (05/28/01)

•How could you destroy a representation of the Catholic Faith with your sham of what you call artistry??.--Sarah Kamuf, Owensboro, KY (05/28/01)

•Your efforts should be supported.--Leonard Herr (05/28/01)

•Congratulations on a great piece of art.--Mich Barnes in Canada (05/28/01)

•I am neither shocked nor appalled at the picture of the Virgin Mary as displayed on your Web site. However, you know as well as I do that it is indeed offensive to the Christian masses and you have deliberate intentions of creating controversy.--Jim from Galveston, Texas (05/28/01)

•As a Non-Catholic Christian, I find your display of the mother of Jesus in this manner offensive.--William F. Duensing (05/28/01)

•Interestingly, I received a reply this morning that stated my reply of support was "quarantined" for subsequent review before being distributed to the list.--jo young (05/28/01)

•The female body is beautiful.--Rebecca VanZoeren (05/28/01)

•Of course you have your right as far as your expression of your art work. I also have my right of expression which is I find your work ugly, but to each his own.--Mrs Berna Heland (05/28/01)

•I am not catholic, and I have no clue what you were trying to express in your art. However I do think it is disrespectful to use any religious symbol as a means of expressing anything else.--Julio (05/28/01)

•We are not Catholic so possibly do not recognize the blasphemy that others may see in your painting. However, I do know that more people should see it, critique it, talk about it, love it, hate it, let it fire their creativity, their spirtuality and if they don't care for it, should not look at it.--Jane Bliss Nutter & David Nutter (05/28/01)

•I know this has been a tough time for you and you need to know that you are doing a great job in your work. You may not see it now (or maybe you do), but there really is a good reason for what happens to us. It not only makes us stronger, it gives us valuable tools to handle other life crisis better.--Consuelo (05/28/01)

•There isn't a single thing about this piece of work that I personally find even the least bit offensive, or blasphemous, or even questionable, and I should hope the Museum doesn't cave in to pressure that I find almost inexplicable unless the church is excessively hung up on the 'virgin' aspect of the virgin Mary, forgetting that the point is that she was born free of sin, and that the birth was a virgin birth, which implies nothing about her willingness to be nude (remember Adam and Eve? They were without sin, and happily naked). In fact, if anything I think this only highlights an excessive and unhealthy quantity of shame on their parts.--Jarett Weintraub (05/28/01)

•Most egregious is the assumption of perversion, blasphemy, or even sexuality in the representation of the female body. --Thadd McQuade, Foolery Theater Co., Charlottesville, VA (05/28/01)

• I feel the artist is the exhibitionist and a disgrace to all Christians.--Caroline Dance (05/28/01)

•Aunque a mi no me guste la idea de dibujar a la Virgen casi desnuda, creo qu usted tiene todo el derecho de exibirla en donde se lo permitan. --Oscar A. Mendez (05/28/01)

•Artists must be free to visualize their world.--Johnny Gunn (05/28/01)

•It is impossible to go through a meaningful life without offending someone.--Merrill Kramer, Artist/Sculptor, Hallandale, FL (05/28/01)

•In my opinion, for what it is worth, is that it is a beautiful work of art that should be appreciated for its originality and excellent quality.--Sam Newberry (05/28/01)

•been a catholic for 57 years ... still am ... love our lady.--Jane Birge (05/28/01)

•If your belief in Mary is so threatened by an image, then perhaps you'd better re-examine your so-called faith! -- Maya Hildebrand-Garcia (05/28/01)

•Someday you will know what it feels like to have some thing that means so much to you be made fun of. --bad luck (05/28/01)

•This is all about you and your 15 minutes of fame, which you may not have acquired had you done something that was less offensive in both subject matter and presentation. -- Brandy N Granier (05/28/01)

•I think that what people do not realize is that they are giving homage and respect to images which have been created by artists, and not actual representations of the Madonna, Virgin, or what have you. --Dolphina Reeves (05/28/01)

•Its just a pinup picture and not too good at that. --Vancvrwise (05/28/01)

•To disgrace her with this type of nudity is a violation of everything that God wants us to learn from her and the very essentials of our Faith. --KdjandJake (05/28/01)

•The women used here is beautiful and inspiring for Latinos.--Henry Martinez (05/28/01)

•..enjoy your creativity and seek liberating truth.--Jueanleandro Garza (05/28/01)

•All you have done is degrade the faith of millions of religious faithful!--Dr. Paul Harris, Tampa Florida (05/28/01)

•Good luck, and thank you for doing what you do...eres un gran ejemplo...animo...tu trabajo me inspra gracias.--Luis Martinez (05/28/01)


•..your work does in NO WAY alter the image OR beauty of what she STANDS for!!--mike cogan (05/28/01)

•Your work may have triggered emotions of happiness, strength, empowerment, discomfort, anger, or shock - remember that those emotions were all ready there in the person before your work was on display and this is just how they are choosing to display this emotion, it is their emotion - healthy or not it is not for anyone to judge, it is simple an expression.--Nathalie Turmeau, Richmond, BC, Canada (05/28/01)


Our Lady Emails April 2001 (105)

(Click on date for complete email)

•I am sympathetic to what it means to be greatly offended. But the protesters in this case are taking offense where none is meant by the artist (feminists work from different paradigms when creating and viewing female bodies) and are using this occasion to privilege their own colonial brand of paternalistic religious discourse... --Kat Avila, (04/03/01)

•There is nothing wrong with a women's body and men -- even priests -- do not have the right to say it is ugly or profane. Please don't let a fanatical few ...bully you or any other arts organization into backstepping a century or so.... --Nadia Reed, Arts Educator, California (04/09/01)

•I went to see your show on Friday so I was not one of those people screaming (to defend it, of course) without seeing the work. Breathtaking. I loved every bit of it... --Gloria Nieto, Santa Fe, New Mexico (04/09/01 & 04/10/01)

•Keep up the struggle. Your work is wonderful... --Maria Herrera Sobek, Professor of Chicana/o Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara (04/09/01)

•In Ms. López’s Guadalupe I saw – for the first time – a Holy Mother who makes eye contact, whose body posture says, 'I’m here; I stand firmly on two feet; I speak with a strong voice.' I saw her for the first time held aloft by an angel who expresses mature womanhood and sexuality, not naive innocence. I left the exhibit smiling inside and out.... --Claudette Sutton, Tumbleweeds Children's Magazine, Santa Fe, New Mexico (04/09/01)

•It IS about sex, gender, and how a Catholic male hierarchy perceives women and what they expect from them. Isn't it interesting how their complaints labelled the piece as "perverted" and "pornographic"? Right there, that shows you how they view women and women's bodies.... --Ev-Ra, "Princess o' Power," University of New Mexico (04/09/01)

•... it distresses me to witness the trivialization of our cultural icons in the common market...[yet t]hese images of the Virgen, showing legs kicking their way out of oppression, choosing to wear heels like some modern woman, or the tattooed Virgen on a naked woman's back, force us, as a people to contemplate and confront our colonized institutionalized beliefs. Our discomfort is good for us, it teaches us to examine our conscience and consciousness... --Celia Herrera Rodriguez, Lecturer, University of California at Berkeley (04/09/01)

•I invite you to come to our community of Santa Fe, let us break taco, and give and learn of each other's knowledge. Please know that there are intellectuals, community activists, educators, artists, etc. not just religious fanatics, not buying a museum's validation of propaganda for consumer culture as "art"... --Pedro Romero Sedeno, Artist, Santa Fe, New Mexico (04/09/01 & 04/14/01)

•Alma, you figure the Inquistion was probably initiated by a few...zealots. And as I said before those that cast stones need to look at their own back yard first!... --Sergio Hernandez (04/09/01)

•The call for censorship of her artwork is unfair as religious beliefs should not motivate such intentions. The church is a separate institution apart from the arts and sciences... --Leticia Lopez, Student, University of California at Berkeley (04/09/01)

•What Alma Lopez has done is taken the same sort of risks which the Esperanza [Peace & Justice] Center took in pushing the boundaries of the accepted, dominant conventions, while remaining deeply rooted in a cultural and (dare I say) Catholic context.... In the same vein of mutual support, recognizing that the struggle is everywhere, I offer my support in the defense of art that provokes, art that offends, art that challenges—and art that celebrates and reaffirms... --Alejandro Perez, San Antonio,Texas (04/09/01)

•I want to offer my moral support and remind you that i feel your work is very important and must be seen... --Denise Solis, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio, Texas (04/09/01)

•....a religious segment of society can not, legally dictate the contents of a government funded agency... --Consuelo Flores, Cultural Activist, Los Angeles, California (04/09/01)

•What we have here is the trivialization and dismissal of a courageous Latina artist's voice. Pedro does it very easily, defaulting to a cultural nationalist's most handy tool - dismiss the in-house opposition as vendidas/os. It doesn't work. Chicanas and Latinas have come far enough that a simple "shut up" isn't all that effective... --Kat Avila (04/10/01)

•I was fortunate enought to be visiting Santa Fe last week and took the opportunity to see the exhibition which included the 'controversial' Virgen de Guadelupe. The whole exhibition was excellent - vivid, stimulating and thought provoking. --Nancy Falchikov, United Kingdom (04/10/01)

•I'll be publishing an essay in defense of your work and the museum's right to exhibit it in the next issue of our monthly arts & culture magazine in Ruidoso (NM). People like Villegas are very frightening .... --Pamela J. Cromwell (04/10/01)

•Women Hispanic artists represent... a younger generation who struggle to make themselves heard politically and seen artistically... censorship, by males who feel threatened in their authority, must [be] denied. Museums...are not merely repositories of past works, but also forums for new ideas, or new views of old ideas, and questions about the ideas by which we live and try to make the world better than the one we inherited. --William E. Houston, Santa Fe, New Mexico (04/10/01)

•...this is art and a virgen is an expansive figure borrowed and stolen from the indigenous people for some 500 years and it is particularly Chicana's that have reclaimed her in their own image.... --Dorinda Moreno (04/10/01)

•Be strong against this censorship. Your work is beautiful and deserves to be praised not censored.... The "religious" men that seek to ban your work do so because you have finally shown them that the virgin is a women. They can never come to terms with the fact that the creator of their savior is a women. - John J. Nauke (04/10/01)

•I admire your work, both this Guadalupe and other images of yours that I've seen. Your Guadalupe seems so much in the great Chicana tradition of artists like Yolanda Lopez, Ester Hernandez.... --Dr. Robin Adele Greeley, Assistant Professor of Art History, University of Connecticut (04/10/01)

•...if the worst happens [and] the art must come down....we are going to the museum and chaining ourselves to the door.... Then we will take our shirts off and cover our chichis with flores. If you think those men have a problem with women's bodies, wait til they get a load of their sisters in chains and flores!!! --Gloria Nieto, Santa Fe, New Mexico (04/10/01 & (04/09/01)

•I say "go ahead with you bad self!" I'm proud you're speaking out for us women and elevating us to our rightful place on this planet. I hope the day will come when men will learn to love us more and fear our strength less. I know the blessed mother is smiling, and blessing your artistic expression. --Jemela Mwelu, New York, New York (04/10/01)

•You have won on the issue because the piece is still up and there is every indication that it will remain up... --Helen Lopez, Santa Fe, New Mexico (4/11/01)

•Images of dark Madonnas and Goddesses appear the world over, as part of the legacy of the ancient Mother worship. The Roman Catholic hierarchy does not own exclusive rights to the image of the feminine form as an expression of the divine... --Nina Serrano, Oakland, California (4/11/01)

•...just wanted you to know you have my support and encouragement to continue your good work... Good luck! --Lorraine Schechter (4/11/01)

•I see Alma Lopez' art piece titled, Our Lady, as an interpretation of La Virgen de Guadalupe brought into modern times. It is not offensive nor degrading; it is uplifting and refreshing... --Amber Staggs, Irvine, California (4/12/01)

•Keep on painting, Alma, and remember one thing, when people criticize it's because they're seeing something that is hitting close to home. --Aida Irizarry (4/13/01)

•I am horrified by the reaction of some of my fellow New Mexicans regarding your art work at the museum. --Pat Fairchild, Santa Fe, New Mexico (4/13/01)

•Nationwide, we have noticed a disturbing trend in which artwork is challenged because individuals and groups deem it offensive.... We call on all those faced with such situations to not sacrifice the right to free speech in an attempt to placate critics. --Joan Bertin, Executive Director, National Coalition Against Censorship (4/13/01)

•Each of us sees the image that is Our Lady in a different way. Those individuals who take issue with Ms. Lopez' depiction have NO GROUNDS FOR COMPLAINT.... As a former museum curator, earlier in life, I strongly support you.... --Thomas G. Lennox Santa Fe, New Mexico (4/13/01)

•... Archbishop Michael Sheehan called the director of the Museum of New Mexico early in the week of April 9-13, trying to have your work removed.... His attempt at back-room dealings indicates that the overwhelming public sentiment, as well as the stance of the Museum of NM & the Museum of International Folk Art, is unequivocally supportive of you, your work, and its continued exhibition. --Aaron Fry, New Mexico (4/13/01)

•As one of the four artists, I am proud and honored to be a part of CyberArte: where tradition meets Technology.... As an artist it is very hard to figure out how people respond to the images that I create. Sometimes people laugh, are moved or are bored. I truly do not know of an artist who intentionally would set out to offend, and certainly that would not be Alma Lopez. It [also] makes me proud to think that we have Dr. Tey Marianna Nunn representing New Mexico, as a curator of one of our state museums. Her decisions and choices need to be supported. --Elena Baca, Proud, Museum Supportin, taxpayin CyberArtist (4/13/01)

•I am a former Santa Fe Public Schools Board member ...and I am well known in Santa Fe. I have been making it very clear at every opportunity that I do not support this inquisition.... --Carla Lopez, Santa Fe, New Mexico (4/13/01)

•I am writing because I support an individual's right to free speech and artistic freedom of expression... --Brenda Chavez, student, Columbia Law School, New York, New York (4/14/01)

•Her secular work ...can be analyzed without questioning the artist's spiritual connection to the work. Without the attendant Guadalupe Clip-Art, Alma's ...print ...reads more as a poster for women's liberation, propaganda for her feminist politics.... Your work can be construed as ideological date-rape. Choose again for other cliches and souvenirs in your cruise as an intellectual tourist through the issues of our barrios (one map of US-Mexico border: no blood, sweat or onions, please) to produce your "new and improved" souvenirs. Your computer magic is but the dream of your ego. --Pedro Romero Sedeno, Artist, Santa Fe, New Mexico (4/14/01 & 4/10/01)

•When I look at this image, "Our Lady", I see the portrayal of a strong Chicana, something much different and much needed compared to the original bowed head, hands clasped Virgin de Guadalupe. Women need to be shown as strong and willing to fight for what they believe, not submissive and patient. What you are doing now is being that strong and willing woman in order to fight for your right to display your art... --Jasmine Butts, student, California State University at San Marcos (4/14/01)

•Hopefully, the passions ignited by your work will generate discussions that help Chicanas/os maintain their identity and preserve their heritage, not by abandoning beliefs nor by enshrining traditions, untouchable, dead in a tomb, but by infusing those traditions with fresh insights... --Piper Nadelle, student, California State University at San Marcos (4/14/01)

•I want to thank you for having the courage to show an image of the virgin as a strong and powerful woman. I am not a Roman Catholic but when I had breast cancer and visited Chartres Cathedral in France, the stained glass image of the "Blue Virgin"gave me strength... --Marge McCarthy, Santa Fe, New Mexico (4/15/01)

•...growing up in a devout Catholic family taught me to love and respect the Virgin of Guadalupe in more ways than imaginable. Her image and what she represents will forever be embedded in my heart. I do not, however, feel that anyone has the right to tell me the ways in which it is appropriate to view her... --Rachel L. Gonzalez, San Diego, California (4/16/01)

•I can tell you that there are about 30 artists I'm working with that completely support you and your point of view, and right to express it. However, in the my attempts to merely discuss your story and it's implications to the art community, I've created my own troubles at turns out I can't talk about religious art art work... --James Brynildsen, computer artist, Jacksonville, Florida (4/16/01)

•Liturgical art in the Christian tradition, has always been used to inspire.... It's been used to inspire fear and awe, to gain or maintain political control over those who could not read, the masses. --Tracy Lawrence Bailey, Artist/Designer, Lawrence West Stained Glass, New Mexico (4/16/01)

•I and my partner visited your museum during a trip to New Mexico from Scotland in March.... I was also very impressed by the CyberArte exhibition, particularly the artists' skills in using new media to express classic artistic and ideological concerns... [I]n particular Alma Lopez's splendid reflection on Our Lady of Guadaloupe, is an important contribution to a controversy which is as old as religion itself. --Greg Michaelson, Edinburgh, Scotland (4/17/01)

•Art should not be judged by its popularity or by whether it pleases or displeases a particular group, no matter how vocal. The removal of the Lopez picture would be an act of censorship and a capitulation to narrow religious interests... --Lois & Marty Snyderman, Santa Fe, New Mexico (4/17/01)

•I found this particular piece to be not only very creative, but that it sent a powerful and important message regarding the strength of Chicano women and the importance of religion in their lives... --Ted Taylor, California State University at San Marcos (4/17/01)

•Please accept my vote of support for your right to express yourself through your art. --David Dough (4/17/01)

•I enjoyed seeing your Virgin Mary in the museum very much. I feel that it might help if you issued a written statement explaining your point of view. --Jack Frenkel , New Mexico (4/17/01)

•Your image gives me strength. I feel that growing up with Mexican traditions, I was taught to have smaller goals in life because I am a woman. I was raised to view the world through my future husband's eyes. That all the skills I acquired were to benefit my husband and not myself.... I view your image as a tool to enlighten our culture. --Diana Puentes-Rodriguez, Student, California State University at San Marcos (4/17/01)

•It is the symbolic meaning of her image that is sacred, not the image itself. Icons, statues, and images have symbolic meaning. They are reminders of a belief or ideal. They are not the belief itself. The belief is within us--not outside of us in an object. Alma Lopez' piece entitled "Our Lady," in my opinion does not undermine the symbolic meaning of the image, it is a representation or interpretation of her personal relationship to La Senora. --Anita Quintana, Graphic Designer / Artist, Northern New Mexico [Graphic Designer for Cyber Arte] (4/17/01)

•I am e-mailing you and pleading with you to PLEASE take the 'digital photograph' back to California! A true Catholic does not offend, you have injured a whole community seriously.... YOUR SELFISHNESS IS NOT VIRTUOUS. --Julian Olaf, New Mexico (4/17/01)

•Ms. Lopez, I wanted to send you a copy of the letter I sent to Mr. Villegas. I met Mr. Villegas in Santa Fe while I was student at the College of Santa Fe. I want you to know that I support your work and believe that you have a right to show it. Please hang in there, we need women like you to be role models for our young people. --Juan Lopez (4/17/01)

•As your sister in the Mystical Body of Christ, I extend a hand of sisterly love and compassion to you... --Sister Conchita Carrillo, FMI, Santa Fe, New Mexico (4/18/01)

•Actually most of the uproar seemed confined to a few easily offended (easily confused??) individuals and the easily alarmed media. Good for you for resisting all of the efforts to take the work down... --Barbara Jellow, Assistant Art Director, University of California Press (4/18/01)

•You have so missed the beauty and grace in Our Lady. Wearing a bikini does not make a woman strong, it makes her an object of subjugation to the lust of men... --Shelley Finkler (4/18/01)

•To me one of the very saddest aspects of the entire episode is the using of your art to drive yet another wedge in this community. As a scapegoat for all the pent up resentment and ill will; you have manifestly been very badly treated... --Nicky Watts, Santa Fe, New Mexico (4/18/01)

•You are NOT showing respect for the Blessed Mother, what you ARE doing is shaming her and giving Catholics a bad name. The Blessed Mother does not need you to 'bring' her into the modern world, she's just fine where she is... --Kathi Young (4/18/01)

•I was extremely upset when I viewed the painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary dressed as a Victoria Secret model. It was distasteful, and inconsiderate towards the beliefs of over 1 billion Catholics.... --June Love (4/18/01)

•Alma, I don’t like your idea of saying that you did not do it to make people upset. Come on, Alma. Be honest. Diego Rivera once said, “If it is not propaganda, it is not art”... --Alejandro Solorio, Student, California State University at San Marcos (4/18/01)

•All of those people who so strongly oppose you should do some research into who you really are and your stated intentions for creating the work. I have faith that the system will not let you down... --Miguel Salcido, California State University at San Marcos (4/18/01)

•Did you [Pedro Romero] evaluate the male ethos you so eloquently represent and how you demand the rest of us-- including these women who, to my mind, have more authority to interpret this female icon that you or I as men -- historically has maintained the infamous dichotomy of women on pedestals? This denies a woman...her personhood. --Michael Sedano, California State University, Los Angeles (4/21/01) & (4/22/01)

•Your art is an image that expresses how we want to see ourselves, which makes it the art of the people now... --Roberta Martinez & the Martinez family (4/21/01)

•...people criticizing should consider the work of the cistine chapel and that of the beautiful David and our lord on the cross wearing only a loin cloth.... - Virginia Pinedo, lecturer, Chavez Ravine, Los Angeles, California (4/21/01)

•Keep up the great work! --Mary Andrews (4/21/01)

•It is critical in a free and democratic society that we maintain our right to see, hear and read work that is controversial, even that which is offensive to some... --David Thompson, New Mexico (4/21/01)

•Yes, it is a beautiful image of Raquel, but the scandalo is that it's not a beautiful image of Guadalupe-Tonantzin. Too bad you distorted the idealistic beauty of our compassionate Mother to ingratiate your homage to Raquel... --Pedro Romero Sedeno, Artist, New Mexico (4/21/01)

•It's so sad and try as I may, I just can't erase from my memory the face of the woman, at the first town meeting at MOIFA, who turned to me an literally spat out the words, 'it's disgusting to show the Virgen that way...' --Tracy Bailey, Artist/Designer, Lawrence West Stained Glass, New Mexico (4/21/01)

•It seems to me that we all need to share her glory and history in the way that it means something to each.... the way that the indigenous people in Guatemala know her is different than the way we in the urban centers view and revere her... she is us, how we are. We are diverse, we are complex, we are astute and aware. She is ours to reinterpret; we don't own her, the museums don't own her, the church doesn't own her... --Dorinda Guadalupe Moreno (4/21/01)

•Pedro does not speak for all Santa Feos, Nuevo Mexicanos, Mexicanos, Católicos, Chicanos or artists from the state of New Mexico.... --Rudy Fernandez, Santa Fe, New Mexico (4/21/01 & 4/9/01)

•I think this piece is so powerful because she "La Virgen" reveals to us the relevance of spirituality in her own "naked Truth" ,,,in essence the possibility of faith existing in our own lives in a very personal and direct way... --Cynthia Wright (4/21/01)

•As you may know, our award-winning book cover (Puro Teatro: A Latina Anthology) carries a slightly altered version of the image. Before the book was published, our editor asked a number of us--all Latina playwrights--how we felt about the image. I, immediately, loved it.... Recently, while I was reading from the book at a women authors' event, involving a number of area high schools, I was informed that my book was not allowed in the school. The school had pulled my book because of the image... --Elaine Romero, playwright, Tucson, Arizona (4/23/01)

•The bigger picture is that Xicanas/Chicanas have come a long way in this society and in the Catholic society. Xicanas have always had conflicted feelings about how to be a good mujer, especially when it comes to virginity and sexuality... --Lydia Zendejas (4/23/01)

•The 'scandal' has made a lot of people listen to your statement.... Including myself: if it weren't for the controversy, I would have thought it was just a pretty picture. The real meaning, now that I know where it comes form, is actually very moving, and makes me think... --Daniel Butler, sculptor, Santa Fe, New Mexico (4/23/01)

•Continue to speak your mind, heart, and share your experiences... --Consuela Zumwalt, University of Oregon (4/23/01)

•I've known you a long time and I know you are not purposely trying to yank some chains - you are simply depicting your opinions and ideas... --Ana Garza, Los Angeles, California (4/23/01)

•Thank you for representing La Virgen in full Grace, Dignity, and Glory. Your image of Our Lady awakens in me strength, focus, and self-respect through her gaze and stance... --Raquel Gutierrez (4/23/01)

•…el problema es que el Obispo o Cura del lugar donde se exhibe tu arte, quiza no haya ido al Vaticano, el Vaticano esta lleno de mujeres y hombres y angeles desnudos en la Capilla Sistina... --Yolanda Hendricks, Museo Latino de Long Beach (4/24/01)

•Of course, the censors have a right to question your art work -- even to call for its removal, but I hope the museum does not cave into their reactionary demands... --Dennis Medina, San Antonio, Texas (4/24/01)

•I love your image of "La Virgen" and I am disgusted with the backlash you've received from Villegas and Sheehan who are probably aroused by the image, which is a natural response from males and females as well …perhaps this arousal is translated to them as offensive... --Dianne Vega,Teatro Visión de San José (4/24/01)

•Will the Board allow Mr. Villegas, the archbishop, or anyone else for that matter, to come to the museum and summarily order the removal of any other works, because they are sacrilegious, offensive, in bad taste, historically incorrect, badly composed, oddly dimensioned or too big or too small? --Armando Durón (4/24/01)

•I always appreciate art that is well done and sparks interest/controversy/reflection on what art is. Thank you for getting New Mexico talking about art... - Angie Gerstein, Montessori Elementary School Teacher (4/24/01)

•She as an artist is doing what artists are supposed to do: observe,think, and interpret; and in doing so open the conversation about what we take for granted in our everyday lives... --Celia HerreraRodriguez, Visual Artist/Lecturer, Chicana/o Studies, UC-Berkeley, co-signed by Cherrie Moraga, artist/author (4/25/01)

•"The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion" (published in its entirety on the Voz de Aztlan site) is a much-circulated anti-Jewish tracts used for years by neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups. It is deeply disturbing to see it used by Chicanos who purport to be community minded and "progressive..."--Aida Mancillas (4/25/01)

•Actually the image of the virgin is that of a Chicana in a rose-covered "bikini" that is really a modest bathing suit. -- CHICLE (4/26/01)

•I see your depictions of her as embodiments of all Chicanas, she is us and we are her... --Alyssa Gutierrez, Austin, Texas (4/26/01)

•For Chicanas and other women who have traditionally been taught through religion to feel shame about their bodies, Ms. Lopez' work is instrumental in healing very deep wounds and enabling women toembrace their bodies and their sexuality as divine gifts... --Lara Medina, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Cal State Northridge(4/26/01)

•I'm very proud of the work that you are producing for multiple reasons….[because it] …[f]orces our multiple expressions of culture to socially evolve…. - Michael Samano, Ethnic Studies Coordinator, Lane CommunityCollege (4/26/01)

•So many times people want to attack the sensation or the idea of some sort of "evil" in art without thinking critically about the art itself. I want to apologize for certain Chicanos that have not been enlightened to accept a Chicana as a strong person with expression and needs of expression. --Oscar "the Oz" Madrigal (4/26/01)

•Perhaps we should not be so quick to accept the views of those who cannot accept change and applaud those who are able to see transformation and power in our creative images. --Dr. Tey Diana Rebolledo, Professor of Spanish/Chicano Literature, University of New Mexico (4/27/01)

•My 83 year old mother read Roberto's piece and she said 'Now I understand. The art work should stay in the museum.' She then proceeded to tell me what
a feminist her own mother was working on the farm along the Rio Grande in NM... --Helen Lopez (4/27/01)

•Personally I do not see any disrespect shown to Guadalupe in the imagery you have used. But neither do I see what many others are seeing: the image of a strong woman. Does the fact that Guadalupe looks at the viewer enough to make her a strong woman? I do not think so. Ester Hernandez's karate-kicking Guadalupe conveys a strong woman. I see your Guadalupe as simply an updated version of a cultural icon... --Roberta Fernandez, Assistant Professor of Romance Languages, University of Georgia (4/28/01)

•One lesson I have learned from this is that as an artist I may have had an intended meaning, but the viewer/audience interprets the image in their own way, which includes what is in their experience and heart. --Alma Lopez, artist (4/28/01)

•Thank you for your tenacity at keeping vociferous against the continuing harrassment of alma and all mujeres.... --Dorinda Moreno & Alyssa Gutierrez (4/29/01)

•Since the advent of the Alma Lopez controversy, I have been concerned with the viciousness exhibited by her defenders.... In fact, by her stone silence, one can only infer that she is in complete agreement with the attacks against individuals who express their freedom of expression. --Octavio Romano, Ph.D., editor, Quinto Sol Publications (4/29/01)

•We mujeres who walk the sacred red road of aztlan are poised to defend our dignity in our lives and on the internet. it will take a lot of dialogue and commitment to overcome the mental fray put forth by our assailants.... --Dorinda Moreno (4/29/01)

•...there is this great discussion about your work by some self-proclaimed inteligencia of the pochos.... it would be cool if you could say something briefly about the posts.... --Zulma Aguiar, filmmaker, UC San Diego (4/29/01)

•I am in prayer that this opportunity to heal and unite a community will not be lost. I admire your art and your courage. --Elizabeth Gaylynn Baker, Signature Films (4/29/01)

•Wow. That was my reaction to viewing your art.... I think when viewing art and we learn about the history & perspective of the artist, what we see becomes clearer and understandable. --Janét Hund (4/29/01)

•I was turned on to your work when the NY Times did a story on 3/31/01. --Mike (4/29/01)

• [to Pedro Romero] In regard to your reference to my defense of Alma's work from your destructive criticism as being a "pobre yo" defense, I once defended your work in much the same manner when I served on the Foundation Board at the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe. If that is the way that you want to refer to it, so be it. --Rudy Fernandez (4/30/01)

• By no stretch of the wildest imagination can the flower bedecked nude religious virgin of Guadalupe be called folk art, no matter how presented.... It appears that the work by Alma Lopez is but an administrative wedge to introduce California lesbian art into the context of Northern New Mexico's folk culture. --Octavio Romano, Ph.D., editor, Quinto Sol Publications (4/30/01)

• It seems to me that you have taken Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe as a symbol of Chicana power, and completely debased her blessed, holy status as mother of Jesus Christ and Patron Saint of los Mexicanos. I do not intend to offend your artwork; I encourage you to continue your career and wish you success.... --Maria Gonzalez-Escareno (4/30/01)

• We have two questions for those who feel that the picture of the Virgin by Alma Lopez, hanging in a quiet gallery in the Museum of International Folk Art is sacrilegious. Why is it not sacrilegious to use a picture of Jesus to prop open the hood of a car.... --Kim Aeby and Frances Wilmeth (4/30/01)

• You have my support. I admire you and your wonderful work. --Harold Salas-Kennedy (4/30/01)

• I doubt that Alma Lopez or any other artists have a problem with critical words about their work.... But Pedro, to me your words go beyond critique. They are painful. Those rocks you are throwing hurt. The entire list has heard over and over that in your own perspective you do not find value in Alma's work. Many others of us here in Santa Fe find the image nurturing and refreshing. --Carla Lopez (4/30/01)


Our Lady Emails March 2001 • Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, NM Controversy (75)

(Click on date for complete email)

Original complaint from Jose Villegas (3/17/01)

Alma Lopez's response to Jose Villegas (3/17/01)

•Yikes, what artists have to endure from self-righteous control freaks. --Lisa Justine Hernandez, Ph.D. abd, University of Texas at Austin (3/18/01)

•I wanted to write something to Mr. Villegas expressing my outrage at his remarks, which are very male-centered and catholic-centered. What he left out was a critical analysis of how it was the catholic church who imposed such "sacred" icons and such traditions in the first place, through the genocide of an entire continent. And what does he mean by "sacred"? Guadalupe is sacred to me and I loved your piece. I thought it had a very powerful message. On the contrary, I think the piece reflects years of indoctrination by the Catholic Church, and how you are saying "no", and putting up a strong mujer. --Favianna Rodriguez, artist, Oakland, California (3/18/01)

•I have never disrespected my elders and their elders, especially "la mujer" in my barrio. By all respect, don't give me this bullshit about critical analysis of how it was the catholic church who imposed such "sacred" icons and such traditions in the first place, through genocide of an entire continent. There is also another side of a story, especially the church history. Either your educated about New Mexico and Southwest church history or your not! So what gives? Again, I am a man of devotion to our blessed mother. Let no man or woman interfere in this devotion. --Barrio Warrior (3/18/01)

•It was clear that the guy who wrote that letter to you knows nothing about the struggle of chicanas within la Raza. His message came across loud and chauvinistically clear. --Garciafea (3/18/01)

•Hi Alma, nice, diplomatic response. If you wanted to be confrontational (and you don't) you could tell the idiot to look up fascism in the dictionary. --Ramon Garcia (3/19/01)

•Wait, a minute, did i just step into a time machine and accidently hit reverse to the Spanish Inquisition? Luis Alfaro was right...Jesus save us...from some of your followers!! --Josie, Xicano Books (3/19/01)

•[To Jose Villegas]... you might want to look up a favorite painting of mine by Jose Clemente Orozco (famous Mexican muralist) where he paints Jesus Christ as a man you has come back to reclaim his name and stop the criminals, politicians and capitalists who have misused the name of God. He is holding an ax and has chopped down his own crucifix. It is really powerful.... What I wish you would understand is the idea that La Virgen belongs to no one as much as it belongs to everyone. Her image has been created and recreated by hundreds of thousands of Chicanos like you and I- look on the walls of your corner markets or your neighborhood iglesia or the notebooks of our highschoolers. Every one of us, in our own way, has taken her image and made it personal. You don't agree with Alma's expression, and you know, that's cool. But do not create mitote where there need not be.--Erick Serrato, Los Angeles, California (3/19/01)

•I am from New Mexico although I have been in San Diego for 11 years now. I was formerly the curator at the Centro Cultural de la Raza. I am not sure if we have met but I have admired your work for some time. Any time a re-imaging takes place there can be contention (which in and of itself is certainly not bad) especially if it involves faith and sexuality. - Patricio Chávez, photographer/instructor, UC San Diego (3/19/01)

•WOW.... It is completely fascinating to me how the Virgen image can cause such outrage when not portrayed in its "official" form. I love and admire your response, too--brave and diplomatic in the face of his explicit and rather threatening tone. --Josefina Ramirez, Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California (3/19/01)

•Well girl, you just keep poking at the internal contradiction in our community, "How do so-called activists reconcile their politics with their fundamentalism?" ...These attacks are part of an underlying contradiction in the "progressive" community which has never acknowledged its deep sexism, its mimicking of the dominant power structure, and its homophobia. It's past time to do so. What can I tell you mujer? Keep doing your work. It's good work and it raises critical issues. It's strong aesthetically. It's strong content-wise. It's smart. It's hilarious. It's truthful. --Aida Mancillas (3/19/01)

•Aye Chingao Alma, en que te metiste mujer? I meant to call you and tell you that a friend of a friend who was at the opening night reception for your exhibit loved your work and said that it created quite a buzz (a good one) and that several people loved your work also. --Lindsey Haley (3/20/01)

•Wow Alma, good gosh! As a descendant of North American Indigenous people, and as a feminist, I just got to tell you that guy was a really scary asshole. For him to proudly call vengeful Catholic guilt an 'Indian' value really shows how far apart the ancestors' children have gone. --Nadia Reed (3/20/01)

•As a collector, an academic (with some experiences with similar controversies), a former resident of New Mexico (northern), a Latin Americanist (with a better grasp of history than Villegas), and a card-carrying Anglo Protestant (with a far better grasp of all the religious issues than Villegas), I find this an anti-feminist, authoritarian, chauvinistic, preposterous, bigoted, reactionary, and almost perverse attack on an entirely legitimate genre. --Frederick Nunn (3/20/01)

•Diosa mía Alma. What a gorgeous and life-affirming imagen. Gracias. Others have already eloquently voiced the solidarity I share with you. Keep on mending the divide between body and spirit, girl! --Juana Alicia (3/20/01)

•I believe the catholics (especially the priests) are using you as a scapegoat. Why don’t they see past the image. Why haven’t they asked what it means to you and understand that is what you feel. that you are not trying to change an image of their virgen. Honestly at this point in time the Catholic church is losing many members for different reasons, and one is that people sometimes don't think on their own. --Diana Laura (3/24/01)

•I think the pieces you have in the CyberArt exhibit are wonderful and very meaninful. As an artist myself, I am very sympathetic with this struggle against censorship. I hope the museum and Board of Regents will recognize that there is not one hispanic community here with only one voice. --Jane Sauer (3/24/01)

•I am a resident of Santa Fe New Mexico, and to put it mildly I was extremely offended by Your painting Of the blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of our Savior Jesus Christ in a bikini, as well as with your painting of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe with the Mermaid. I was just as offended to learn that you are a Hispana and should know better than to show utter disrespect for the mother of Jesus as well as the Mother of the Americas. --Carlos Martinez, Santa Fe, New Mexico (3/25/01)

•I saw your Virgen de Guadalupe for a brief moment on TV shown only as it related to the controversy. What I saw, I really liked. --Susan Lefebvre (3/25/01)

•Although members of our community may not like the way Ms. Alma Lopez depicted "Our Lady", she had every right according to the First Amendment of our Constitution, which gives to all of us the freedom of speech, to create the work and for the Museum of International Folk Art to exhibit it. --Connie Mississippi (3/25/01)

•I recently went to Mexico City and in the local newspaper "Reforma" I saw an article referring to [the exhibit].... I find it "muy padre" and very "nueva-latina" While I do vernerate the concept of the Virgin I also appreciate the cleverness and wit of viewing it as simply an icon which can be used for expression by artists like yourself. --Ana Cristan, Washington D.C. (3/26/01)

•Alma, for whatever it's worth, I like it.... No matter what you do, you're going to ruffle a lot of clerical collars whenever you attempt to alter any of their revered icons in such a way that they deem offensive. --cycocat3 (3/26/01)

•These icons do belong to everyone and no one. It is important to recognize the reality of our history, our presence and our future. Alma, what you are creating only represents who we are, using who we were as a culture. I commend you for your vision and applaud the Museum for recognizing that your art has meaning, history and cultural significance supporting it and should not defined as purely religious. --Consuelo Flores (3/26/01)

•I support your individuality and applaud your ingenuity. Art is art and you have a right to express it exactly as it was conceived. There will always be those who do not agree nor understand the creative process nor the interpretation which is totally subjective.... --Luna (3/26/01)

•I am in total support of your right to exhibit your work and am absolutely against the negative actions of the individuals who are protesting your wonderful work. Please be aware that many of us admire your work and support your creative spirit. --Maria Herrera-Sobek, Professor of Chicana/o Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara (3/26/01)

•To Mr. Villegas: When you deny an Artist the right to portray the Virgen as a Chicana it is if you are saying she is not one of us. Our embrace and identification with her is important in recognizing her true purpose.... The Virgen stands symbolic to our community and as such have every right to express this in our work. Your action echos the very opposite of what her very appearance means, and as such truly is a disservice to her meaning and message.... --Margaret Garcia, Los Angeles, California (3/26/01)

•Girl - you rock! I am devoted to both la virgen de guadalupe and la virgen san juan de los lagos and your interpretations make positive statements about the strength, controversial dual standard, and multi dimensional roles of women. If you're ever in san antonio, the first round is on me. --Frances Trevino, San Antonio, Texas (3/26/01)

•I am so sorry that this is happening to your work. I will announce this to my Chicana Lit class tonight and encourage them to write to support you and your art. I have recently written an article in which I discuss your other controversial work--La Virgen y La Serena.... I hope all works out well for your right to interpret Mary as you see fit. --Elizabeth Rodriguez Kessler, Assistant Professor, California State University at San Marcos (3/26/01)

•Your response to Ms. Lopez's interpretation of the Vigen is very much like a observation I recently read, "People that are very eager to tell you about their religion are almost never willing to listen to you about your religion".... --Sergio Hernandez, Artist, Indian Oak Graphics (3/26/01)

•As a cultural critic and collector of Chicano art, I recognize the cultural, spiritual, and creative value of Alma Lopez's work. --KarenMary Davalos, Chicana/o Studies Dept., Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California (3/26/01)

•I am a New Mexico resident and journalist -- baptized Catholic at birth.... It disturbs me greatly that it's only when she is portrayed in a way that associates her with sensuality and nature -- and with the sensuality of women in particular -- that the portrayal is being labeled "blasphemous." It is hardly that. If anything, this portrayal is one of spiritual insight. --Catalina Reyes, journalist, New Mexico (3/26/01)

•...I am sorry that some people have taken offense and hope that you aren't depressed by their reaction. Unfortunately, it seems that most people are ignorant of the creative process and what it means to be an artist. They don't understand that as artists, we are trying to communicate our ideas and emotions through our work. I tell myself that that must be the reason that people make such baseless judgments about artwork and artists. --Tracy Bailey (3/26/01)

•I guess what's the most scary to me is this whole censorship of art (Christian McCarthy-ism). I find it so ridiculous that the same system (the church) that has enslaved us with self-hate and an out dated moral code, still has so much control over our humanity towards each other. --Victoria (3/26/01)

•I think your work is interesting , too bad some people take it too much to the heart.... oh well just like the say we have freedom of speech but what about freedom of art?--el capricho (3/26/01)

•As a Xicana lesbiana, I am aware of our cultura's hypocrisy and conservatism which is compounded by religion. Art is sacred, not because some of it deals with religious themes, because it deals with our complex humanity. Obviously, there are some Chicanos who would want to negate our queer existence... much like the patriarchal conquerors have tried to negate and exterminate the indigenous elements of our cultura.... If the art is so powerful that it provokes self-proclaimed righteousness on the behalf of Villegas and others like him... can it not provoke dialogue? Or are THEY not healthy enough to do this? --Adelina Anthony, MACHA Theatre Co (3/26/01)

•I am quite familiar with Ms. Lopez’ artwork, and the richness of expression she brings to both traditional and contemporary Chicana/o images and issues. From her public artwork on billboards and murals all over the L.A. area to her "digital" collections online, I find her artwork a unique contribution to an evolving Chicana feminist sensibility, with an altogether consistent and visionary spirituality....Alma's work makes her faith and tradition real to her, and to many other women like myself. She should be applauded, not mocked, for her efforts to incorporate Catholic traditions and symbols into contemporary artwork. --Susana L. Gallardo, Religious Studies, Stanford University (3/26/01)

•I am the Director of MACLA here in San Jose where we were privileged to have your work included in the Gender, Genealogy show....I love your work-- your de-construction of traditional icons and forms is very powerful...not since Ester Hernandez depicted the Virgen as a Karateca and Yolanda Lopez depicted her as a jogger (and that was 25 years ago) has an image of the Virgen been as powerfully re-contextualized as in your work.... --Maribel Alvarez, Mexican American Center for Literature & Arts, San Jose, California (3/26/01)

•I have recently become aware of the controversy regarding the recent exhibit of Alma Lopez. We have her art work in our living room because it is beautiful and because it challenges me and other to think outside the box. There are more critical injustices in the world that people should become involved with instead of spending their time censoring art.... Alma is a critical artist for critical times. --Trinidad Sánchez, Jr., writer (3/26/01)

•The piece is a wonderful reclaiming of a Catholic cultural icon.... Lopez's interpretation reworks the image to raise important cultural and political questions. The viewer has no choice but to question his or her assumption pertaining to the sacred and the profane, it does what all great art should do, elicit a reaction, forcing the audience confront long held notions. --Gabriela Rodriguez, Stanford University (3/26/01)

•I always say good things about art work and even If I don't understand it. God has given people such as yourself great gifts to share with His creation beauty and wonders of His Reflection. But the digital photograph of "Our Lady" is an art so offensive that heaven cries out.! I can't even find words to express it. --J. Sanchez (3/26/01)

•I am so sorry that you have been targeted by this tapado who feels he is the authority on our collective historical and religious culture. I agree that La Virgen belongs to all of us, to relate to her however makes her relevent to our lives.... In order to keep her, this is what has needed to happen.We have freed her not only for our sake, but for hers as well. I have never seen a virgen that has laughed so loudly, and beamed so wide. And now she is ours more than ever. --Rocio Carlos (3/26/01)

•No hagas caso de la gente que pone a la religion sobre el arte. You are good girl! You keep on doing what you're doing because you do it very well. But anyway.... YOUR ART ROCKS! Keep it up! Y como decia mi abuelita, no hagas caso de las malas lenguas, son puras envidias! --Lilia P. Nieto (3/26/01)

•I heard about your situacion through my mom who is a Mexicana, mas catolica y devota to la virgen morena. She actually saw your work on TV and was impressed! I woulld like to support your right to display and interpret your relationship to Guadalupe- as it is your perosnal/spiritual and artisitic right.... --Maria Figueroa, Profesora de English y Chicano Studies, San Diego City College (3/26/01)

•Is it possible that we can all have a personal relationship and our own representation of our favorite Santo? Apparently Señor Villegas does not think so. He accuses Ms. Lopez of having produced blasphemous images and of considering herself above the mores of her community and the Catholic religion. But what el Señor Villegas is doing; falsely accusing this artist, misunderstanding her ideas and presenting his own religious beliefs as more legitimate that hers is more detrimental to "our community," because his efforts will only stifle our communities ability to process, deconstruct and articulate new ideas. It is inspiring to see that Alma Lopez is not only making great contributions to the artistic community with her honest, and personal representations but she is also challenging Chicanos/Latinos religious or irreligious by proposing new ways of looking at religious icons. --Claudia Rodriguez for Tongues Magazine, Los Angeles, California (3/27/01)

•In the course of my work it has not been uncommon to encounter the discomfort of students and communities initially unfamiliar with Chicana feminist revisions of religious figures.... These kinds of discussions are invaluable opportunities to explore the spiritual dimensions of Chicana art, Chicana feminism, the multiplicity and hybridity of Chicana/o communities, and the variety of religious expression that has historically marked our communities. Whenever this has come up in lectures or classrooms, I inevitably come away richer in my own knowledge from the exchange--but that dialogue would not have happened without either the willingness of participants to talk out the discomfort rather than silence each other or without the beautiful and provocative art that speaks of multiple experiences. --Theresa Delgadillo, Assistant Professor, Women's Studies, University of Arizona (3/27/01)

•Many famous artists never got the respect they deserved. People never take the time to stand back and take a look at what an artist is trying to portray, they just assume at first glance that they don't like it or that it is offending. When really if they used the time they use to complain they may see the same vision that you see in your paintings.... Keep your heart painting the way it is!!! --Amy Rawls, Albuquerque, New Mexico (3/27/01)

•I loved the Virgen piece, so nanny nanny boo boo to everyone who's having a fit over it. WHATEVER. Hope you're holding up okay with all the negative crap swirling around it. I've already e-mailed my support to the NM gov., my state reps/senators AND sent a support letter to the local Albuquerque Journal (which, interestingly, is not printing any letters of support. hmmmm.) --Ev Schlatter, Albuquerque New Mexico (3/27/01)

•Alma..I wish you the best...hang in there... --Serg Hernandez, Indian Oak Graphics (3/27/01)

•Getting criticism for your depiction of Our lady of Guadalupe in a bikini? Good! the lady is idolatry to begin with, any Christ centered Christian who reads and studies the Bible knows that. You are a Catholic, but obviously not a Christian. God tells his people to tear down the idols in their lives. Putting the lady in a bikini is tearing down an idol. Go for it!! I am a born again Christian, and with or without a bikini I spit on any image of Our lady of Guadalupe, knowing full well I do so to an Idol and with Gods full authority backing me up. --Norm Bishop, Santa Fe, New Mexico (3/27/01)

•Please do not remove Alma Lopez's work from your exhibit. I think the main work in question, "Our Lady" is a beautiful testament to her culture and religious beliefs.... Even as a non-Catholic white woman I am inspired and moved by her work. --Reannon M. Peterson Madison, Wisconsin (3/27/01)

•Undressing the Virgin, the protesters claim, is an affront to their Catholic faith.... Have they forgotten all those lactating Virgins proffering breasts to the Christ child in hundreds of traditional Catholic church art pieces? The angel holding up the figure is bare breasted. Shame! Have they forgotten all the little angels flying around in traditional paintings with their male organs showing! And then there is the black crescent moon, witchery they cry, brujería! If one looks at representations of the Virgin from colonial times to contemporary the moons are almost always black. No witchery here, just a dark moon.... The Press (The Albuquerque Journal) prints inflammatory editorials, lopsided news articles, and negative letters to the editor. The reasoned, positive letters never appear. --Dr. Tey Diana Rebolledo, Regents' Professor of Spanish & Chicano Literature, University of New Mexico (3/27/01)

•Her work is deeply personal and, for me, speaks of a passion for life and its deep mysteries. Her image of "Our Lady" is both breathtaking in its daring eroticization of the sacred and stunning in its artistic rendering of La Virgen. Alma Lopez's image at once summons the democratizing history of La Virgen and the many ways that marginalized communities have conceptualized her in their own image for their own sense of empowerment in the midst of social denigration and cultural oppression. --David Roman, Associate Professor, English and American Studies & Ethnicity, University of Southern California (USC) (3/28/01)

•Those conservative catholic activists are hot on your trail. Interesting that they have jesus nearly naked with a little cloth over his privates hanging on walls all over their homes and can't stand the sight of a holy woman's skin, and especially the breasts that fed them! --Helen Lopez, Attorney, Taos, New Mexico (3/28/01)

•Where's the separation of Church and State? Don't they know the cultural implications? I'm really surprised by the ignorance! --Consuelo (3/28/01)

•As former Tlahtoani (Spokesperson) of el Movimiento Estudiantil Xicano de Aztlán de Western Michigan University and former Coordinator of the MEChA Midwest Autonomous Region (MMAR), I find nothing objectionable about "Our Lady" or any of the other works included in the show. What I do find objectionable, however, are the kneejerk reactions that the media have so quickly portrayed as the people's voice.... What Alma López has done has created a representation of La Virgen that relates to her lived experiences and grounds her in a new Catholic spirituality. --Dylan Miner, University of New Mexico (3/28/01)

•Wonderful. What a strong, vibrant portrayal of La Virgen. Initially, very startling- as women, as latinas we're conditioned to accept our sexuality in narrow terms defined by others. Your Virgen is powerful- I can see why some would be threatened. --Silvia Castellano (3/28/01)

•...I was moved to research you and your work. I've set up a "Shrine-weblet" to you and your "Our Lady" Just wanted to let you know I support you. Lee Walker, Los Angeles, California (3/28/01)

•Te deseamos mucha suerte --Jane Brickner, Santa Fe, New Mexico (3/28/01)

•I was immediately struck by the magnificent technical ability of the artist. The composition is masterful, the color renditions a visual delight that informs the viewer that one is in the presence of one of the leading artists of this nation. In her series on the Virgin of Guadalupe , her principal theme is lesbianism, as currently exhibited in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As such, Lopez reaches out to an all-loving god. However, her admirers and followers seek the precise opposite, they seek not an all loving god, but a punishing, fascistic god that mercilessly punishes the "pagans," very similar to the Mexico invading Spaniards who sought not only to eliminate contrarians, but also alternatives. All of this is sad, for I truly believe that the last thing in the mind of Alma Lopez is to foster neo-fascism in a democracy. Yet, this appears to have been the case. --Octavio I. Romano, Ph.D., Scholar/publisher, Quinto Sol Publications (3/28/01)

•I have been a long time admirer of Lopez's work, both conceptually and in its technical quality. She is one of the few Chicana artists that is leading the way in the development of digital art and carving new territory within Chicano aesthetics. --Tere Romo, Curator of Exhibitions, The Mexican Museum (3/28/01)

•I like the way the Virgin looks like Lysa Flores! I wish she looked happier and prouder, but certainly the flowers over her most feminine "secrets" are a wonderful visual metaphor. --Therese Hernandez (3/28/01)

•As an academic who regularly studies art by Mexican Americans in research, writing and teaching, I find Ms.Lopez's work to be of great significance in examining issues of gender, sexuality and re-visioning of Mexican icons. The refashioning of the Virgin of Guadalupe is a very common motif in art by Chicanos and Chicanas. Many artists (and writers for that matter) have expressed their own personal relationships with this figure in their work. By re-visioning or even critiquing social aspects of Our Lady they are by no means disrespecting this figure. It is because they recognize its spiritual, social and cultural importance that they dedicate their talent and time to exploring its meanings, both traditional and new.... --Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano, Professor of Spanish, Stanford University (3/28/01)

•Artists have dealt with the atrocities of war, depicting rapes, maiming, mass deaths, abuse of children.... Some of the art will survive over the ages and some will not. Yet it can be an essential part of the current intellectual, political and emotional debates of our culture. --JoAnn Anglin (3/29/01)

•Would you please ask ...[SF New Mexican reporter] Ann Constable to correct her repeated, erroneous and inflammatory allegation that Alma Lopez's image of the Virgin in the current exhibition at the International Museum of Folk Art is "bikini clad." The artist herself describes her subject as "a strong Virgen dressed in roses." --David Fitelson (3/29/01)

•By banning Alma's art work, you're stripping her right as an artist, but also, you're forcing her to express her love in the way YOU see fit. Or the Church sees fit. Historically Latina women have been discouraged to take part in the Church, and Alma's art is merely trying to narrow that gap. She is trying to show that we can very well have a relationship with La Virgen and be a part of a Church that hasn't in the past included the brown woman's voice. --Nancy Loredo, East Los Angeles, California (3/29/01)

•The issue is not so much about censorship, as it is our ability to have a civil dialogue, and respect for the deep personal meaning inherent in an artists' work. Having been a politician for a brief period in my career, I learned that extremists come in many forms. And while their intentions are often honorable, their actions should not be tolerated. --Dane F. Pollei, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin (3/29/01)

•The good news is that your work sparks dialogue--and makes an even larger impact for raising consciousness about the kinds of policing that continues to take place around gender in the name of organized religion. --Dionne Espinoza, Assistant Professor, Women's Studies and Chicana/o Studies, University of Wisconsin at Madison (3/29/01)

•Yesterday afternoon I went to see Cyber Arte, and I think your work is wonderful. If the Virgin is at work in the world today, she recognizes your strength, intelligence, and humor. --Cheri Falkenstien-Doyle, Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe, New Mexico (3/29/01)

•UNM Spanish professor Dr. Tey Diana Rebolledo presented the talk Las Claravidentes: Chicana Artists and Writers, Gender, Ethnicity and Creativity at the University Art Museum Wednesday as part of the Cultural Studies Colloquium. Her speech focused on the work of Chicana artists Marie Romero Cash and Alma López, creator of Our Lady, as well as two Chicana writers, Pat Mora and Margarita Cota-Cárdenas. --Daily Lobo, University of New Mexico (3/29/01)

•We support the position of the museum and the responsible way in which they are handling the controversy. We applaud their ability to find a way to both respond to protests by holding a public meeting and also to stand by the free expression rights of the artist by leaving her work on display. It is important to realize that such incidents are never isolated. --Svetlana Mintcheva, Ph.D., National Coalition Against Censorship, New York, New York (3/29/01)

•I'm not an art expert by any means, but I think your rendering of Guadalupe is beautiful. Playful and exploratory, yes, but disrespectful and trashy? Hardly. The people protesting MOIFA's showing of your piece aren't seeing the grace you've put into your Guadalupe; instead they're gawking at her flesh. --Jessica Nunn (3/29/01)

•I went to see your pieces and I must say it is very interesting! --Alex Baez (3/29/01)

•The Church has not been respectful towards women and the challenges they face in contemporary times. It has given us role models of passive, demure virgins who look down. It has made us ashamed of our sexuality and independence. Young people struggle to find representations they can relate to in their search for spirituality. Certainly Alma Lopez's "Our Lady" is such a search and it is a beautiful and powerful representation. --Dr. Tey Diana Rebolledo, Regents' Professor of Spanish & Chicano Literature, University of New Mexico (3/29/01)

•Don't let the bigots get you down. --Mary Ann Stoddard (3/29/01)



Our Lady Emails 2000 (3)

Date: 09 Jan 2000 12:11:57 PST X-Mailer: Web Mail

Subject: Our Lady Of Guadalupe (model painting)




Received: from [] by with HTTP; 09 Jan 2000 12:11:57 PST Content-Length: 684 Return-Path: Content-Type: text/plain Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Disposition: inline

Dear artist:

Mi familia y yo could not believe what you have done by painting "OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE"....This is not culture class this is culture trash. Your painting has attack THE MOTHER OF THE AMERICAS. Would you have painted your own mother this way? This is OUR MOTHER...



God Bless You, The Garcia Familia

Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 12:42:51 -0800

Subject: Re: Our Lady Of Guadalupe (model painting)

From: Alma Lopez

Organization: Homegirl Productions


Dear Familia Garcia,

Thank you for your prayers, and may God bless you too.

The work I do comes from my heart and is not meant to disrespect nor offend. I have a relationship with the Virgen of Guadalupe since I was born in Mexico, baptized Catholic, and grew up in East L.A. with the Virgen in my home and community.

"Our Lady" image is based on an essay titled "Guadalupe the Sex Goddess" by Sandra Cisneros in the book Goddess of the Americas/La Diosa de las Americas edited by Ana Castillo. The essay and my image are attempts by Chicanas to find personal connections with the patron saint we grew up with.

I am blessed with an artistic talent, and do not apologize for my work nor my creativity.

Date: 11 Jan 2000 09:16:09 -0800

Subject: Re: The Blest Virgin Mother is not a Saint...



Dear artist: You know we have to correct you. The Blest Virgin Mother is not a Saint...She is the Holy Mother of God appeared to the noble Aztec Indian, Juan Diego. You say you come from Mexico, then you should know that the Blest Virgin Mother is not a Saint...Have you heard of the Immaculate Conception? Maybe you should really do some readings on "Our Lady of Guadalupe" Mother of God-Mother of Life before you a temp to paint Her once again. Now your paintings are a slap in Our Lady's face...When you paint you should remember that not all of us know what you are thinking and right now you are sending out the wrong message to all who are not practicing Roman Catholic. It is easy to take a short cut, but very hard to stay on a straight road to heaven...