Artist: Dulce Soledad Ibarra
Exhibition: Manos De Oro
Media: Sculpture, Paint
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Max L. Gavtov Gallery East
Website: dulcesoledadibarra.com

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This week I met the very talented artist, Dulce Soledad Ibarra who is a senior pursuing her BFA Sculpture at California State University, Long Beach. She is twenty-five years old and grew up in Chino, California. She is very humbled about the fact that she is able to share her art with the entire campus in the School of Arts Gallery. It took her a very long time for her to receive machines and materials she needed for her installation, but she says everything flowed together very nicely.

Ms. Ibarra mentioned that her father is a gardener and growing up she was ashamed that his dad had that occupation simply because it had negative connotations once it was brought up. She focused primarily on “survivor’s guilt” because she feels that she is thriving meanwhile, her dad worked and is still continuing to work very hard using his hands to make people’s homes and gardens look great. A great deal of first-generation students can definitely relate to her statement, including myself. My grandmother always said that a job is always respectable no matter what it is. And I was brought up with that saying, a janitor or a gardener is still working hard for their money to feed, clothe, and provide a roof over their family’s head. This is why I love the message that Ms. Ibarra brought attention to with her installation.

For her project, she tried transforming the shame and negative connotations people had toward her father’s job and turn it into something beautiful. She made a tribute for her father’s hands and hard work, long hours and machines. She also mentioned that her dad worked a lot growing up in order to provide for her family, therefore she wouldn’t receive many toys. Instead, her parents saved up money to buy her a gold cross only to find out that she was allergic to gold. This moment was crucial in Dulce Ibarra’s life because she felt like she didn’t deserve luxuries or that she was punished for wanting luxurious objects. In her installation, she includes various machines and utensils needed for gardeners and they were covered in gold. She mixed and embraced two huge aspects in her life through her art.

As I stepped into the gallery, I already had a sense of what the display would be about but once I conversed with Ms. Ibarra it all came together perfectly. She had a beautiful message for her father—who is very proud of her accomplishments and who saw her installment previously and almost cried.

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