Rebekah Crisanta de Ybarra
(enrolled Maya-Lenca / El Salvador) is an Indigenous emerging anti-disciplinary post-modern folk artist, curator, and civic artist working in the intersections of art, culture, community, and equity. Her practice includes visual art, music, dance, and performance with an emphasis on Latinx/Indigenous art methods, the experimental, and the political. Her work lives in the Nepantla or in-between of Christianity and Indigeneity and explores iconography, propaganda, Decolonization, and Liberation Theology.
Rebekah co-founded Electric Machete Studios, a Twin Cities Art and Music cooperative and gallery, where she serves as Artistic director and curator. She writes and performs music as Lady Xok. She has exhibited, performed, and curated throughout the Twin Cities, collaborating with many arts organizations including Penumbra Theatre, The Ordway Center for Performing Arts, All My Relations Arts, & Art Shanty Projects. She is self-taught, family-taught, and studied studio art at St. Olaf College and Holtekilen Folkehøgskole in Oslo, Norway.
Rebekah's current projects include HOBT's PuppetLab Fellowship where she is creating a Maya magical realism play, piloting the public art intervention Mayan Calendar Project to revitalize star-watching traditions, curating with Electric Machete Studios, and recording a Lady XOK debut music EP. In fall of 2018, Rebekah will lead the inaugural Artist Take Over Series at the M (Minnesota Museum of American Art) with a month long open studio and performances.
A body of work-in-progress, ‘The M Series’ uses found materials in honor of Mother Earth to reflect on the practice of Liberation Theology of El Salvador and decolonization. In reflection of desaparecidos (disappeared people) and women praying at the table, this body of work-in-progress explores iconography, gun manufacturing, pop culture, war and prayer. The icon of the virgin Guadalupe has been used as a weapon of war herself by the Church against Indigenous people. In a conflicted irony, while colonial erasure of Indigenous traditions continues through "westernization" and assimilation of the world, she remains a symbol of hope by many Latinx Indigenous descendants. El Salvador was first ravaged by genocides such as the 1932 La Matanza massacre of 30-60,000 people, then the Militarized 12 year Salvadoran Civil War fueled by U.S. arms. Subsequently the MS13 and MS18 gangs of today (orphans of the war, who have taken over the country and are in today’s immigration news) leave an abyss where guns and Guadalupe merge. It is heartbreaking that Trump forgets the historical US imperialism which led to the creation of the gang members in the first place. Drawing inspiration from everyday sacred spaces such as taxis, chicken bus shrines, and artesanias such as paper-cutting, I use iconic flowery oil tablecloths to illustrate women praying at the table for their unknown beloved to come home. This series of sketches is at once a prayer for those who have disappeared and for those who have fled.