Brown Belongings: A Dialogue about the Politics of Color and Class

Artist Linda Vallejo describes her exhibit “Brown Belongings”, which represents ten years of concentrated work on visualizing what it means to be a person of color in the United States.

These works reflect what she calls her “brown intellectual property”—the experiences, knowledge, and feelings she has gathered over more than four decades of study in Chicano/a and American indigenous communities.

Since 2010 Vallejo has produced hundreds of sculptures, paintings, and works on paper entitled “Make ‘Em All Mexican.” She purchases pricey antiques (plaster and porcelain figures, magazines, and postcards) and paint their skin brown. There is a “brown” Elvis Presley, Fred Flintstone & Barney Rubble, Marie Antoinette & Louis Auguste, the Rose Parade Queen, Queen Mother, Greek and Roman gods. In 2015 she produced “The Brown Dot Project,” a series of “data pictographs,” images on gridded architectural vellum where brown dots represented actual data. The works portrayed various data sets including US Latino populations; professional numbers in health, education, and business sectors; and Latino contribution to the US Gross National Product.

“Brown Belongings” will lead participants down an ironic path to find yourself confronted by some of the most difficult questions of our time, “Do race, color, and class define our status in the world?” “Is it possible to be a part of and earnestly contribute to multiple cultures simultaneously?”  “Does color and class define our understanding and appreciation of culture?”

Learn more about Linda’s work at www.lindavallejo.com

Zoom/FB recording from April 14, 2022

About the Artist: Linda Vallejo creates work that visualizes what it means to be a person of color in the United States. She states that these works reflect what she calls her “brown intellectual property”—the experiences,  knowledge, and feelings gathered over more than four decades of study of Latino, Chicano, and American indigenous culture and communities.  

Solo exhibitions include LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes (2019-2020); Kean University, Karl & Helen  Burger Gallery, Union, New Jersey and Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA (2018); bG  Gallery, Santa Monica (2017); Texas A&M University Reynolds Gallery (2016); Bert Green Fine Art,  Chicago Ill, UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, Los Angeles CA (2015); Lancaster Museum of  Art and History in Lancaster CA (2017 & 2014) and the Soto Clemente Velez Cultural Center in New  York (2014), George Lawson Gallery in Los Angeles and the University Art Gallery of New Mexico  State University (2013), as well as Arte Americas in collaboration with the Fresno Art Museum and  Central California Museum of Art Advisory Committee and California State University, San  Bernardino, Fullerton Museum (2012).  

Her most recent solo exhibition Brown Belongings was featured in the NY Times “Visualizing Latino  Populations Through Art” by Jill Cowan, New York, NY (November 26, 2019) and in LA Times “Linda  Vallejo and a decade of art that unapologetically embraces brownness” by Matt Stromberg (June 20,  2019). 

Vallejo’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), Long  Beach, CA, the Museum of Sonoma County, Santa Rosa, CA, Museo del Barrio, New York, NY, East  Los Angeles College Vincent Price Museum, Los Angeles CA, National Museum of Mexican Art,  Chicago Ill, Carnegie Art Museum, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, CA, UC Santa  Barbara, California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives (CEMA), Santa Barbara, CA, UCLA Chicano  Study Research Center (CSRC), Los Angeles, CA, California Digital Library, Arizona State University  Library Archives.