Indigenous Artist Spotlight: Gente del Maíz
Updated: Jun 27, 2022
June is PRIDE month, and we are delighted and honored to spotlight the very talented, Gente del Maíz. Read on to learn more about her inspiration, artistic style, accomplishments and where you can go to support/purchase/commission her work!
Name: Gente del Maíz (Gigi)
Please introduce yourself:
Gigi is a Mixtec earth defender, environmental artist, and creator of Gente del Maiz. They started Gente del Maiz, a digital platform to share bite-sized environmental education and to document their personal journey with sustainability. They aim to inspire individuals to explore their own relationship to the environment in hopes that they will be more ecologically conscious in their daily life.
Q: What does being a member of the Two Spirit & LGBTQ+ community mean to you?
A: As a queer Indigenous person being a part of the LGBTQ2S+ community is meaningful to me because I can find a sense of safety and care. The LGBTQ2S+ community is also filled with revolutionary history and people who inspire me to live a life true to me.
Q: How has it shaped your art?
A: My art has shaped me in ways that I never imagined. I never thought I was an artist or could be an artist due to eurocentric, traditional notions of what “art should be.”
I have learned to express myself emotionally but also politically. My art is used as a tool to advocate for Indigenous rights, environmental justice, and the push for inclusivity in the environmental movement.
Q: What is your favorite medium?
A: My favorite medium at the moment is film photography. I develop all my black and white rolls, and love taking pictures of LA, plants, and loved ones. I also dabble in zines, screen printing, collage, poetry, infographics, and DIY art projects.
Q: Who/what inspires you, your art?
A: As an Indigenous artist of Mixtec-Oaxacan roots, my art is heavily influenced by my cultural background and my upbringing.
I utilize art as a way of healing and connecting to my inner child. I am also deeply inspired by plants and nature for creating art.
Q: What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?
A: I am most proud of the person I am today and the person I am blooming into. In the last few years, I have done my best to prioritize my healing and mental wellness. I have stepped out of my comfort zones and leap into the unknown which has put me on a path of (un/re)learning parts of myself, ecological education, and artistic development. It takes a lot of courage to choose yourself, repeatedly.
Q: 2022-2032 is the official Decade of Indigenous Languages, what is your relationship with language? How has it shaped you?
A: My relationship to my language is a complicated one. Both of my parents are excellent fluent speakers of the Mixtec language. However, I am not a fluent speaker and was not taught the language growing up. Now that I am much older I have taken the initiative to learn a few Mixtec words with the intention of one day being an advanced speaker and listener of the language.
Q: What does PRIDE represent to you?
A: PRIDE is every day.
Where can people buy your art/follow & support you?
People can support me by following my Instagram @gentedelmaiz and turning on their post notifications. Invite me to lead a workshop or be part of your panel or for collaborations. I am currently working on stickers, zines, and prints for Gente del Maíz so stay tuned for that. Lastly, if anyone would like to e-tip, they can support me on Venmo: @earthmamita