YesLex

Original Artwork & Custom Portraits

Malcriadas, "What does my Father think of me?"

Alexis CastilloComment

What does my Father think of me? 2015 acrylic on canvas, Alexis Castillo

I have to admit, I was hesitant to share these works. At first blush you may think you "get" these images. Please add a bit of context to your assumptions. These are full scale paintings from daily newspapers that littler the streets of Lima, each one featuring a "malcriadas" or "naughty girls" which is exactly what you would imagine.
But what really struck me was that each one was printed on cheap newsprint, and each day was a new girl. They were presented as disposable. And that is not the truth, is it? Many of these women feel like this "opportunity" is their shot at the big time,maybe they will get noticed by someone that will pick them above the others and in the meantime maybe make some money to feed their families.

The thing is, once-- maybe twice, one of these girls has been noticed by a soccer star and become his girlfriend and then found relative "fame" on a television game show. Don't you know that every single one of those girls thinks the same could happen to them? In the same way millions seem to believe in the lottery for their lucky break rather than investing over the years they buy those lotto jackpot cards...

Quiero Respeta, 2015 acrylic on canvas, Alexis Castillo

I'm not saying don't play the lottery, just don't think that sooner or later your ticket must come up. If you would rather a scratch-off card every day rather than a few extra bucks to do something else, feel free. But in the case of these women, that's just the undercurrent of the argument. It's the same poor choice that leads new actresses into porn rather than take another rejection for that Subway commercial. The backbone is that Peru is poor, in many places desperately poor, and this is one way a pretty lady can earn an extra buck. Changes the perception a bit for me when I think about it like that.

I started to wonder, what did these girls fathers think of them? Where they proud? Embarrassed? Were they even around, did they know? I can't speak to that, I can only guess. The more I ruminated on that question a quiet revelation surfaced: when you shift position just a touch, and think "what does my Father think of me"... that's something of worth. These girls are valuable. Wherever we are in our poor decision-making, in our journeys and identities, in our just trying to make it and keeping it together, God our Father always sees us for who we are, where we are, and accepts us without hesitation

When I grow up, I want to be respected

I can't speak to their intentions for being a part of what seems easily accepted in this culture. Maybe it doesn't bother them at all. But it does bother me; that these images are right next to the crossword puzzles and the listing for what's on tv that night and then line the dog cage in the morning. That they're trampled on in the street and discarded without care. Sure it's newsprint, but it hurts me-- just a little. Just enough that I decided it was important to make something that was more permanent.
And I kept the images as close to the real thing as possible for a reason. Rather than distorting them, Picasso-style, I wanted to show acceptance: Of how they are seen, of the choice they have made (good or bad) and of the individual. Because doesn't my Father do that for me?