Drawing on my family history and Mexican American identity, I use traditional and non-traditional materials, including paint, cardboard, cotton, and sandpaper, to highlight an often underrepresented geographic and cultural narrative. Growing up in South Texas, I absorbed my parents’ stories about migrant farm work, cotton picking, and the discrimination they experienced in the region, including being punished for speaking Spanish, having their first names anglicized, and being forced out of school. Although vast expanses of the southwestern United States were once part of Mexico, Mexican American families who have deep roots in the area are treated as outsiders, as usurpers of the land and resources their families have occupied, in many cases, for generations. I create portraits of my family’s history, using colors and materials that emphasize their connection to their surroundings and the long cultural lineage of which I am a part of.
Gina Gwen Palacios was born in Taft, Texas. She earned an MFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design, a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Studio Art at Brandeis University, an MA from The University of Texas at Austin in Instructional Technology, a BA from Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi in TV/Film and an AA from Del Mar College in Radio/Television. Gina is currently an Assistant Professor of Painting/Drawing and the Associate Director for the School of Art & Design at The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley.
Gina has exhibited in the US and abroad, including the Arlington Art Center (Arlington, VA), Carlsbad Museum (Carlsbad, NM), Asya Geisberg Gallery (New York, NY), Villa Victoria Center for the Arts (Boston, MA), List Art Center, Brown University (Providence, RI), BAIT15 (Abu Dhabi, UAE), Anteism Gallery (Montreal, Canada) and the Newport Art Museum (Newport, RI).