Artist: Dulce Soledad Ibarra
Exhibition: Manos de Oro
Media: Installation, Mixed-Media
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery East
Instagram: no professional Instagram
About the Artist
Dulce Soledad Ibarra is an undergraduate student at CSULB’ School of Art. She is working towards her BFA through the school’s Sculpture Program. Growing up Ibarra did not really aim at focusing on school. Although she went to a community college for a while, she did not plan on furthering her education. But her love for the art field persuaded her into applying to CSULB. Currently, Ibarra is fortunate enough to work at a museum of art and become well versed in that area of the art business. Having this job inspired her to hopefully one day own her own gallery in which adults and kids alike work to express themselves and display the art that they have created.
Ibarra’s exhibition “Manos De Oro” is composed of a variety of installations as well as a videography. The installations consisted of a variety of gardening tools, including a lawn mower, shovel, hoe, and others. All of these gardening tools were accented with gold. There were also some installations of artificial grass on which a variety of tools were placed upon. At the furthest end of the gallery, a video was playing of Ibarra’s father gardening and landscaping. A soft melancholic Latin song was playing in the background. Next to the video wall, burlap sacks contained fresh-cut tree branches which gave the gallery room a very fresh garden smell.
As a daughter of immigrant parent’s, Ibarra displays the work and sacrifices that go into immigrant landscape labor. The gold that accents the gardening tools signifies the value of the work that is being put in by the workers. Although the work that goes into landscaping is often overlooked, it is tough labor that is often done by an individual who is not in the spotlight in society. Ibarra states that her father, who is a gardener, has “hands made of gold”. This is why the tools are plated with the gold material because the hands of her father touch them and produce work that should be taken pride of. Interestingly, Ibarra mentioned that the gold also has a very personal meaning. Both Ibarra and her father are allergic to gold jewelry, which could signify the unattainability of that kind of riches. But nevertheless, Ibarra considers her family and herself rich in pride, work, culture, and love.
As I was walking into the gallery, instantly I felt a great melancholy wash over me. The latin song playing reminded me of old childhood memories and stirred many feelings. I instantly knew the message that Ibarra was trying to convey through her exhibition. I personally think that that talks wonders of her exhibition. It evoked emotions the moment that I walked in. I, myself coming from Mexican immigrant parents, know first hand the struggle that my parents have had trying to provide the absolute best for my brother and myself. They took countless jobs, some harder than others, and worked countless hours. And that gold. Gold is simply the hard work and sacrifice that people put into their work, whether laborious or not. To be hardworking and prideful in your work gives you “hands of gold”. The display of the gold-accented garden tools really made me think about how often these tools are overlooked, along with the human behind them. Most often these people are sacrificing time, family and more in order to provide the best opportunities for themselves and their loved ones. In just a couple of minutes this display managed to make me feel a whole spectrum of feelings, but most importantly reminded me that everyone and every job is valuable beyond words.