MOTHERS OF THE MOTHERLESS

In 2008, I was commissioned to create a painting for the Edmonia Lewis Center for Women and Transgendered People at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio.  I created this work on-site and visited classes as part of a residency. The work is a celebration of women/ trans/ queer people who have essentially nurtured oppressed and marginalized communities. I use the term "mother" here not in a biological or gendered sense but rather as a transcendent expression for those who love, nurture and heal, regardless of gender. Below is a list of those featured.

 

Mothers of the Motherless, 2008 painting by Yasmin Hernandez commissioned for the Edmonia Lewis Center for Women and Transgendered People at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio

From the upper right corner, these mothers spiral through the waters of a whirlpool marking Yoruba orisha of motherhood and the sea, Yemaya. They are:

Antonia Pantoja: Puerto Rican visionary, educator, activist, founder of Aspira

Marlon Riggs: Radical poet, activist, educator and filmmaker 
Julia de Burgos: Puerto Rican revolutionary poet
Cherríe Moraga: Chicanx radical poet, playright, essayist and memoirist
Audre Lorde: Radical “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” 
Rachel Beverly: Activist and nurturer in the Oberlin community
Tania:  Clandestine combatant in the Cuban Revolution
Willie Ninja: Mother, House of Ninja, performer
Luisa Capetillo:  Puerto Rican labor activist, gender non-conforming anarchist
Phoolan Devi:  Indian revolutionary, Bandit Queen, warrior for all women
Assata Shakur: Black freedom fighter still living in exile
Yuri Kochiyama:  Japanese revolutionary, social justice warrior
Edmonia Lewis: Chippewa and African American artist, sculptor 
Sylvia Rivera:  Legendary Puerto Rican trans social justice activist
Lolita Lebrón: Puerto Rican freedom fighter
Gloria Anzaldua: Radical Chicanx scholar and cultural theorist