The Spring 2020 installation Envisioning Futurity: The Aesthetics of Chicana Resistance and Resilience was organized by Gilda Posada, PhD student in Cornell’s Department of the History of Art and Visual Studies, and displayed upon the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó:nǫ (Cayuga) Nation.

The installation was presented in conjunction with Lest Silence be Destructive: A Conference on Latina/x Feminisms—Past, Present, & Future, a conference inspired by the work of Helena María Viramontes, the preeminent Chicana novelist and Goldwin Smith Professor of English at Cornell. Originally planned for April 23–25, 2020, the conference was organized by faculty across campus and cosponsored by the Department of English/Creative Writing Program. Having played critical roles in developing the iconography and visual power of the Chicana movement, the seven artists on view offer work that speaks to and corresponds with many of the themes Viramontes explores in her exquisite and groundbreaking fiction.

Envisioning Futurity was designed to celebrate Chicana/x political visual culture as it emerged alongside the Chicana/o movement of the 1980s and ’90s. This movement entailed a series of national protests revolving around civil rights, labor, land dispossession, and decolonization for Indigenous and Chicana/o/x peoples across the United States.

These artists examine the practices of resilience, survival, and joy amidst conditions of subjugation and precarity. The works meditate upon the experience of working as migrant laborers, coming into feminist consciousness through voice and vision, and honoring the profound relational connections to Indigenous traditions and ways of life, and to land, fire, air, and water.