La Ofrenda II
Ester Hernandez (American, b. 1944)
DimensionsImage : 28 x 20 in. (71.12 x 50.8 cm)
Sheet : 30 x 22 in. (76.2 x 55.88 cm)
Credit LineHope College Collection
LabelEster Hernandez has been an important figure in the Chicano art movement since the 1970s. Her work often addresses social justice issues involving civil rights, women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights. This print is a slightly reworked version of an image Hernandez initially created in 1988. It depicts Hernandez’s hand offering a rose to her then-girlfriend who has a large image of the Virgin of Guadalupe tattooed on her back. The Virgin of Guadalupe is an indigenous Mexican apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary who first appeared near what is now Mexico City in 1531. Over time, the Virgin of Guadalupe attracted a strong devotional following in Mexico and became a symbol of the country’s distinctive social and cultural identity. Given the Roman Catholic Church’s historically negative views on homosexuality, it is ironic that Hernandez seems to be offering the rose to both her girlfriend and the Virgin of Guadalupe at the same time. The implications of the gesture—that the artist’s love for her girlfriend is comparable to her love for the Virgin of Guadalupe, and that the Virgin of Guadalupe’s love will bless and protect the two of them—make this print a bold expression of LGBTQ pride that was not often seen in art, especially Chicano art, at the time the print was made.