Subversive, Skilled, Sublime: Fiber Art by Women

Consuelo Jímenez Underwood

Consuelo Jiménez Underwood stitches together pain, history, and hope into richly nuanced works that speak to her heritage as the daughter of a Mexican American mother and a father of the Huichol Peoples in Mexico. 

The central figure in Virgen de los Caminos (Virgin of the Highways) is the Virgin Mary. Her face is represented as a skull, and she is bordered by flowers and crisscrossed by embroidered barbed wire. In nearly invisible white quilting thread, Underwood has sewn  the outline of a running family more than two dozen times across the surface. The image comes from huge caution signs that alert motorists to migrant families traveling on foot along the San Diego Freeway leading north from the Mexican border. The sign shows a running father, mother, and little girl. Underwood made the quilt as a memorial to all the little girls who perished trying to cross the freeway to safety.