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Carmen Lomas Garza now lives in San Francisco, but it is her native town of Kingsville, Texas, that is depicted in her paintings.

Within the close-knit Mexican-American community of Kingsville, Carmen received love and encouragement from her family and from a broad range of friends and neighbors. Still, she experienced the pain of prejudice when she ventured outside the comfort of her community.



Carmen Lomas Garza in front of the conservatory at Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

Carmen introduces herself.
The Chicano movement gave Carmen a voice to celebrate her heritage.
Carmen explains the term monitos.

Carmen's paintings focus on the joyful memories of everyday life with her family, as well as community festivals and events. Filled with familiar faces from her childhood, her monitos include her brother and sister, parents, and grandparents. The family cat and even the lizard she would sometimes see crawling on the porch are also depicted.

Each painting tells a story of Carmen's life as a girl. Some depict dinnertime at her house. Others show couples at a party dancing in their colorful attire.

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Carmen Lomas Garza's neighborhood in San Francisco, California.
Carmen paints images of growing up as a Mexican-American girl in Texas, so people can see how her life was similar to the lives of children of different backgrounds. But she knows it is also important to understand the differences between cultures. Respecting both similarities and unique qualities among people builds tolerance and understanding. In this way, Carmen's stories are educational.
When Carmen was in college she decided to dedicate all of her art to the Mexican-American community. It is her way of showing gratitude to her community and celebrating her rich mestizo heritage at the same time. She is very proud of her background, which can be traced to a mixture of races found in the United States for many years, including Native Americans and early Spanish settlers. Family Traditions


Dreams for the Future

http://nmaa-ryder.si.edu/webzine/carmen1.htm