Artist: Dulce Soledad Ibarra
Exhibition: “Manos de Oro”
Gallery: Max L. Gatov Gallery East
Media: found objects, manipulation of found objects, video art
Dulce Soledad Ibarra is a 25 year old undergraduate student at California State University, Long Beach. She is currently in her senior year and is expecting to graduate in the spring of 2017. Dulce plans on getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture after changing her major just one year ago. She is originally from Chino, California but lives here in Long Beach. Apart from doing sculptures, Dulce also enjoys holding workshops where she teaches children how to make piñatas, making zines and hanging out with her rabbit, Echo. Echo even has his own Instagram. You can find him at @echotherabbit, he has many fans!
Dulce’s exhibition is titled “Manos de Oro,” which is spanish for “Hands of Gold.” Upon entering the Max L. Gatov Gallery, I was greeted with a set of gardening machinery and tools covered in what appeared to be gold foiling or spray painted in gold. From what I could distinguish, there was a lawn mower, a weed wacker, a shovel, a chainsaw, and a pair of gardening scissors. For this exhibition, the gardening tools she used were actually tools lent to her by other gardeners. The tools were laid out into what Dulce describes a “garden-like” setting; it made the audience feel as if they were entering a garden. At the center of the gallery there was also a huge projector showing a video she filmed of the protagonist of her exhibition––her father. In this video she complied it with a song in spanish titled “Mi Viejo (My Old Man)” which I remember had a message of a hardworking father. It was an appropriate choice of song since the video showed her father gardening on a hot day. Dulce described that working on the video was the toughest part of her exhibition, considering the editing she had to do for it.
Dulce explains that she called this exhibition “Hands of Gold” to give recognition to her father and other gardeners who go under appreciated for their handwork. She recalls that when she was younger she was embarrassed to be seen driven to school in her fathers gardening truck. Now, she feels guilty knowing she had those feelings when she should have been proud knowing her father was a hardworking man. Dulce decided to spray paint the gardening tools with gold as a representation that her father’s work is of value, it’s a decent job like any other––there should be no shame in saying your father is a gardener. It’s also surprising to know that both her and her father are allergic to gold jewelry. In a way, this exhibition was also a way for her to give thanks to her father who gave up his dream of studying law in order to provide for her family. He had to go back and forth, job to job, from the United States to Mexico to be able to put food on their table, give them a place to sleep and overall provide everything they needed. She also stated that her father has been doing gardening for over 40 years, and to this day still works a schedule of 6-7 days a week, from around 5am till 3pm.
Knowing how much Dulce appreciates her father and his dedication to his job and his family makes me feel proud of my father. He is currently working out of state, but he comes home to visit every two months if possible. It’s hard knowing I was not able to celebrate Father’s Day, his birthday, or my birthday with him. However, I know my father is a hardworking man like Dulce’s father, and just like Dulce, I appreciate my father. With this exhibition, I left with a sense of pride towards my father. I am so glad I choose this gallery for this week’s Artist Conversation. I hope Dulce’s father is proud of his daughter, just like she’s proud of him. I wish her the best of luck in future exhibitions and showcases.