Artist Maria Maria Acha-Kutscher is proud to call herself a feminist. In fact, it’s the driving force behind most of her work.
“I am among the few artists of my generation who define themselves as feminist. The main focus of my work is the woman: her history, her struggles for emancipation and equality, and how the feminine has been constructed culturally,” Maria Maria told WYSK in an email.
Born in Peru, Maria Maria grew up in a family of artists. Influenced by her parents’ work and seeing the impact art could have on public opinion, she went on to study visual arts at university, and in the early 1990’s moved to Mexico where her grandfather, renowned art critic Juan Acha, was living. After graduation, Maria Maria took her talents to the advertising industry where for more than a decade she worked as a graphic designer and publicist, honing the skills and techniques that we see in her work today.
For the past several years, Maria Maria has been working on a long-term project she calls Women Working for Women. Inspired by the aesthetics of pop art, comics and political posters of the 70’s, the project honors and celebrates women’s participation in social and feminist movements, and women working in nontraditional occupations.
Pro-choice protest outside Parliament against moves to restrict access to abortion. July 2011, London
The first group in this series is Indignada(Outraged Women). Maria Maria’s illustrations include activists and protestors from rallies such as Bring Back Our Girls, SlutWalk, and Black Lives Matter, among many others. The images, which are interpretations of photographs from the protests, made a powerful statement when they were reproduced and exhibited in public spaces in Spain earlier this year.
More recently, Maria Maria introduced Made in Latin America, the second series in the Women Working for Women project, which features digital portraits of Latin American women who have created their own space within traditionally male-dominated fields. This series was developed with Inmujeres D.F. (Women’s Institute of Mexico City) and Antimuseo as part of an advertising campaign that ran throughout Mexico City’s metro.
“My work plays a dual role: being an artistic product and also an instrument that contributes to political transformations. Each image tells a story of struggle that has brought important changes to the way we perceive gender and, consequently, to the history of humankind.”
Here are just a few images from Made in Latin America that Maria Maria has shared with us. To view more, visit her website.
“To be a woman is to be a warrior and overcome the limits and stereotypes that society imposes on us.”
Ali Stone – Colombian DJ/record producer; one of the youngest film composers in the world
“It’s nice to see that more and more women are encouraged to be onstage and not down.”
Cinthya Blackcat – Mexican guitarist/composer; member of the band Mystica Girls
“I like to think and create as someone who does not belong to a specific gender, but is just a human.”
Itzel Najera “News” – Mexican graffiti artist/illustrator
“Dreams are built every day.”
Jackie Nava – Mexican boxer, super bantamweight; first female champion of the World Boxing Council
“To believe … to beat … to have … to be able to… Women don’t limit yourselves to be what others tell you to be!” Mare Advertencia Lirika – Mexican rapper; founder of the band Advertencia Lirika
“We are creators of life, creative by nature, a creative woman have the power to connect with the deepest and most sensitive part of ourselves.” Nina Dioz – Mexican Hip Hop artist