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'Modern Latina' celebrates culture, family and art

A new exhibit at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library opens Monday. It celebrates the resilience and creativity of Arizona Latina artists.

The show features work in multiple mediums that broadly reflects on the intersection of culture & family.

Kathryn Sesma is one of the artists whose work is showcased. She started painting when she was ten and stuck with it through college, but took a pause after.

Sesma goes by the name La Jefa, or The Boss, and says being furloughed during the pandemic made her pick up her brushes and pens again.

"When we were all in quarantine, it was initially something to just pass time. It ended up becoming something very therapeutic. I’m a trauma survivor and so I started finding that I was using art and just painting in general as an outlet and as a way to express myself,” she said. 

Her work entirely utilizes Dia De Los Muertos — or Day of the Dead — as subject matter. 

“However, it’s not scary. It’s very alive, very colorful. I use a lot of glitter. One of my pieces in the exhibition actually touches base on mental health and what that looks like in the Latina community especially during the pandemic when we were just secluded in our homes,” she said.    

She credits her inspiration as an artist to her time as a young girl growing up in Phoenix and visiting a particular gallery that showcased exclusively Latina and Latino artists. "So, when I was asked to be part of this exhibition with artists who I’ve known since I was a child and have admired, I just honestly felt nothing but honored and just honored to represent my culture but also to represent Latinas in Arizona," said Sesma.

Wendy Raisanen, curator of collections and exhibitions for Scottsdale Public Art, stated in a separate release, the Latina women artists “are all at different stages of their artistic careers and all passionate artists who know the power of art to celebrate their lives and traditions,” Raisanen said. “Their artworks express how their relationships with their family, friends and culture have been affected and reinforced because of the unusual times we are experiencing during these last couple years." 

An  opening reception to meet artists happens Oct. 14 from 10-11:30 a.m.

Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.