Stillness #26, 1999. Photograph by Laura Aguilar. Image courtesy of the Vincent Price Art Museum.

“They were here before it changed,” Mexican-American artist Laura Aguilar has said, referring to her maternal ancestors in the San Gabriel Valley, where she grew up, and the US-Mexico border. Before 1848, California and a handful of other southwestern states were part of Mexico. After the Mexican-American war, a different line was drawn in the dry, rocky landscape of the desert. It is this composite space, this terrain which forms the foundation of Aguilar’s work, particularly the “Rio Hondo riverbeds of the west San Gabriel Valley,” the Gila Mountains, and the Mojave Desert.

The first time I saw Laura Aguilar’s…

Lori DeGolyer

I’m a Brooklyn-based writer.

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