Recycled material honors immigrants, retells stories

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Artist Daniela Cavazos Madrigal lectures March 6 about her art pieces displayed in the current art exhibit “Exact Change” in visual arts. Madrigal spoke with the audience about a few of her influences, one of whom is filmmaker Natalia Almada. The exhibit is open through March 22 from 8 a.m-7 p.m Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m-5p.m Friday. Jonathon Rudd

“Exact Change” exhibit is open through March 22 in visual arts.

By Deandra Gonzalez

Artist Daniela Cavazos Madrigal recalls memories of her late grandmother, who is the inspiration for some of her pieces.

 In one of her pieces on display in the gallery in the visual arts center through March 22, she uses her grandmother’s clothes and embroiders her sayings into the clothing hanging on a line.

Madrigal said it was the memory of her grandmother always doing laundry by hand, she said March 6 in an interview.

“It resembled what I remember from my childhood,” she said. “It was an ode to her.”

Madrigal creates artwork from articles of used clothing from her own closet, found in thrift stories or sold by the pound to represent her Mexican culture, youth in a border town and to honor women’s work throughout history.

Most of the pieces show various styles of weaving, sewing and embroidery of Spanish sayings or poems.

Madrigal finds most of her clothing at large warehouses such as La Pacas in Laredo.

The warehouse sells rejected clothing from Salvation Army and Goodwill by the pound.

She’s even asked friends to donate clean undergarments for pieces.

“When I started incorporating other people’s pieces, it became even more special to me,” Madrigal said. “I started thinking about what these garments meant to the person and what kind of history the clothing carried.” 

The women who come to the warehouses often resell the clothing back in Mexico or recycle items for toilet tissue.

Madrigal said that she likes using bright colors to make large, intricate pieces.

“My work is always labor-intensive,” she said. “It’s a little meditative for me, and it’s just the way I work.”

One of her favorite pieces, which is on display on the upper level, is a phrase her grandma used to tell her: “Te queiro chingos.”

“Te queiro chingos” translates to “I love you a s— load.”

Madrigal said she wanted to represent her grandmother in her show because she was an immigrant who embodied the American dream. 

Madrigal’s next show will be a monthlong event at the Backdoor Biennial, a contemporary art program, in July at Kyle Flea Market in Kyle.

The exhibit “Exact Change” also includes works from visuals art Adjunct Norbert Clyde Martinez Jr.

The gallery is open 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday. It will be closed March 10-18 for spring break.


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