Artist: Dulce Soledad Ibarra
Exhibition: Manos De Oro
Media: Installation, Found Objects, Video
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Max L. Gatov Gallery East
About the Artist
Dulce Soledad Ibarra is a twenty five year old who is an undergraduate student pursuing her BFA in the School of Art’s Sculpture program. Dulce was born in the United States but her parents hail from Guanajuato City, Mexico. Before attending CSULB, Ibarra attended Chaffey College. Ibarra is set to graduate next year.
Upon entering the exhibition one’s visual and auditory senses are stimulated. There is a video playing in the north wall. The video features a gardener mowing the lawn, trimming a bush of roses and going about his work. A Spanish song about a father plays in the background. Trash bags full of lawn clippings, leaves and flowers decorate both sides of the video. Inside two of the bags there are two golden hands. Then, there are a pair of golden lawn clippers, a rake and a shovel mounted on the wall. Finally, there are two lawn mowers plated in gold placed on the floor along with other gold plated tools used by a gardener.
In her work, Dulce explores the ideas of guilt and pride through her father’s occupation. The video shown in the exhibition is of Dulce’s father who has been a gardener for the past 40 years of his life. Her father has been the reason so many gardens are beautiful, yet most people don’t think about that. Most people ignore laborers, which can be reflected by the golden hands being hidden inside the trash bags. The golden hands are also meant to reflect the value of her father’s work. We live in a society that does not value the work of laborers, but Dulce expresses the pride she feels in her father’s work by plating all of his work tools in gold. His work is valuable even if society does not realize it. The fact that Dulce is proud of her dad is further reinforced by the song playing in the background. The song is in Spanish, but the lyrics reflect the love one has for one’s father. The guilt part kicks in due to the fact that Dulce has had more opportunities in life and is surpassing her father in an education sense. Regardless, the exhibition shows depicts the work of laborers as valuable and important.
Synthesis/ My Experience
This exhibition definitely tugged at my heartstrings and made me a bit teary eyed because I was reminded of my own parents. The song, Mi Viejo, is a song that I have heard many times throughout my life, so hearing it in the exhibition made me emotional. The reason why I loved this exhibition a lot was because it humanized laborers. A lot of times people think that it is acceptable to mistreat laborers because they feel they are superior to them. That is not the case. A gardener and a surgeon both must work with their hands, but being a gardener is looked down upon while surgeons are lauded by society. Although surgeons save lives, a gardener also maintains and gives life to other inhabitants of earth – flowers and plants.
I definitely agree that his hands are made of gold because those hands have worked very hard for the last forty years in order to earn an income to sustain his family. Dulce’s father left his native country to provide a better future for him family. This story definitely resonates to me as my parents also immigrated to the United States of America and have worked very hard ever since. My parent’s hands are also made out of gold because they reflect their work ethic and determination to provide a better future for their family. A lot of immigrants may not be wealthy, but their rich in many other ways. Their hands are made out of gold even if society does not want to see it.
Overall, I loved the fact that Dulce found inspiration within her father’s occupation and turned it into an exhibition. I am definitely excited to see more of her work.