Artist Andi Xoch Explores Injustice and Natural Healing in “Complice" and “Brotar”
By: Gabrielle Garcia
Co-founder of Ni Santas, a womxn of color art collective taking control of their own histories, narratives, and healing who are also Self Help Graphics & Art’s artists in residence this year, Andi Xoch is a muxer of many talents, working in screen printing, stencil making, doll making, interior design, and mural painting. As the former co-founder of the Ovarian Psycos, a womxn of color bicycle brigade, Xoch foregrounds her art and community work in sisterhood, community activism, solidarity, and healing. Apprenticing under master printer Oscar Duardo and facilitating workshops at Self Help, she’s carving her own unique path as both an artist and collaborator.
Xoch, along with twenty-six other artists, was invited to create work and participate in Self Help’s “Utopia/ Dystopia” exhibition, curated by artist and printmaker Miyo Stevens-Gandara, which forms a portfolio of prints in the form of a deck of 52 playing cards. Each artist created two of those playing cards, which presented their interpretation of utopia and dystopia. The concept of a deck of cards is intended to reference many things—games of chance, luck, fortune, war, solitude, precarious situations (house of cards), magic, empire, and divination. The exhibition runs through August 10, 2019.
The prints of all artists in the “Utopia/Dystopia” exhibition will be featured at Self Help Graphics & Art’s Annual Print Fair and Exhibition on Saturday, June 29th. Xoch’s prints, “Complice” (“Accomplice”) and “Brotar” (“Sprout”), which feature the queen of spades and the six of diamonds, will be available for sale at the Annual Print Fair.
Xoch’s “Complice” depicts a mostly faceless ‘La Malinche’, who was a Nahuatl woman who was forcefully given to Spanish conquistador, Hernán Cortés as a slave, surrounded by enticing plants and mushrooms that have in our histories and present been processed into dangerous and harmful drugs, such as cocaine. She served as his interpreter, was raped by him, and gave birth to his son Martín, who is believed to be one of the first children of Mestizo, or mixed ancestry. Her lack of eyes in this piece represents her inability to comprehend or see how her role would help develop the impact of colonialism. As Xoch’s interpretation of dystopia, the print asks us to interrogate our histories and our accountability in systems of oppression in the present. We must identify and understand our generational and historical traumas as well as the nature of our actions today to prevent replicating them in dangerous forms. “Being compliant to me was a way where I’ve noticed that in situations of injustice, if you don’t say anything, you are enabling and you are complicit in the injustice. And that’s just as bad as the one creating dystopia,” says Xoch.
In conjunction, “Brotar,” Xoch’s utopia interpretation, offers viewers contemplation on healing, whether from generational trauma or environmental racism, with a selection of six healing plants in the artist’s own life that aid her physically, emotionally, and spiritually; encapsulated within six diamonds, including an aloe plant, marijuana leaf, and lavender. Xoch says that this piece “is a holistic approach to [her] sanity.” As a longtime resident of Boyle Heights, one of the most heavily polluted neighborhoods in the country due to the community being encapsulated by freeways, she has felt the drastic impacts of environmental pollution and destruction on her body. This selection of plants offer her some comfort and peace in daily life. Drawing upon indigenous knowledge and connections to nature, Xoch asks viewers to reflect on the healing potential of connecting with indigenous wisdom and rekindling our severed bonds with environment, an environment that continues to be polluted each day. Both plants and humans alike have the ability to be damaging or healing, and through this work, the artist Xoch reminds the public that it is up to individuals to determine what path to choose.
Self Help Graphics & Art’s Annual Print Fair and Exhibition Saturday, June 29, 2019 from 12:00 PM- 5:00 PM is a highly anticipated one-day opportunity for art lovers to see a culmination of works printed between 2018-2019, and acquire new, limited edition, fine art prints created by dozens of artists through our Professional Printmaking Program. The Annual Print Fair and Exhibition features serigraphs, monoprints, as well as new relief and intaglio print editions for sale. You can also purchase prints at our online shop!
Gabrielle Garcia is a Self Help Graphics & Art Getty Marrow Undergraduate Intern and recent graduate of Scripps College.