Artist: Dulce Soledad Ibarra
Exhibition: Manos de Oro
Media: Video/ Sculpture
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Max Gatov Gallery East
About the Artist
Dulce is a senior here at CSULB, where she is currently finishing up her final year as a Bachelor in Fine Arts student with an emphasis in sculpture. She grew up in Chino, California, where her father supported her family by working as a gardener. Although she wasn’t brought up in a particularly wealthy family, her father’s hard work as gardener for over 40 years was her inspiration for this particular exhibit. Both her father and brother have seen her exhibition and became very emotional, especially her brother.
Upon first walking into the exhibit, the first thing you notice is the video playing on the far wall, along with the music which is a song titled “Mi Viejo.” Along the wall there are various gold plated gardening tools, as well as a lawn mower that isn’t completely gold plated, but has gold plated parts. There is also a stack of grass in one of the corners, as well as roses tucked into the grass- filled sacs. In the video, you see a man who is performing gardening tasks such as cutting flowers and trimming hedges.
The video features Ibarra’s father, who has been gardening for a living most of his life, and at 70 years old, continues to do so. Ibarra let us know that the song “Mi Viejo,” which fills the exhibit with a message of an aging father who is getting closer to passing as the time goes on, is a reminder of her own father. It fills her with sadness that she will not have her father her entire life, and that although she wishes he would retire and not continue working into old age, he wishes to continue doing so in order to provide for his family. Some of the tools in the exhibit do in fact belong to her father, while some where borrowed from other gardeners. The gold plating on the tools is meant as a sort of glorification of the tools that despite being simple and not of much monetary value, are important to her and her family because of what they represent.
When i first walked into the exhibit, I immediately though of my mother. Although she doesn’t garden for a living, she does most of the gardening in my house, from mowing, to mending the trees, and trimming the roses. When looking around the exhibit, it’s as if everything that was around the room was something that I could identify with her. Even the music that was playing, although maybe not that particular song but the genre, reminded me of songs that my mom plays around the house and that I’ve learned to appreciate. When she stated that she felt a deep sadness that her parents are aging I felt a connection to this statement, as I wouldn’t be able to imagine a time in which I wouldn’t have them, but will continue to appreciate them and not try to let this thought take over me.