Daisy Quezada Artist
Daisy Quezada’s sculptural ceramic work looks like fine washables — bras, panties, delicately embroidered Mexican peasant blouses — that could blow away in a stiff wind. The pieces are thin and easily breakable, made from a mixture of water and clay called slip. She applies multiple layers of porcelain slip to fabric garments, then uses an adapted lace-draping technique to achieve the folds she wants. Finally, after the slip dries, she fires the pieces in a kiln. The heat burns out the fabric but leaves its shape and texture. The finished items are arranged together in installations, where they are placed on shelves, hung from rods, or half-buried in cement.
“A lot of what I deal with in my work is the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico, and the border — the females within that structure,” Daisy, twentyfive, told Pasatiempo. “I did the Árbol de Violencia series, which was in response to the rape trees in Sonora. I guess you could consider it a game the coyotes play when they’re crossing the immigrants over. They’ll separate the men from the women, and they’ll rape the women, and then as a trophy they’ll take the women’s panties and hang them on a tree.”
Daisy graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio arts from Santa Fe University of Art and Design in 2012. She returned to Santa Fe in 2014 after completing her Master of Fine Arts in ceramics at the University of Delaware. Daisy’s focus on social justice for Mexican immigrants and women in the borderlands extends beyond her artwork. She is connected to a group in El Paso that is trying to help female factory workers in Juárez secure pay raises. Women who have demanded them have been fired, and Daisy sees it as her duty to speak out on their behalf, since she won’t be penalized for it. “My sister says I’m not Mexican, which is fine. I consider myself Chicana. I associate myself with the culture over there. But I’m still American, and I have the privilege of being here,” she said. “I owe it to them.”
In addition to working at SFUAD as the administrative assistant in the studio arts, graphic design, and digital arts programs and teaching a foundations course for art majors, Daisy works for El Otro Lado in the Schools at the Academy for the Love of Learning. The program uses interdisciplinary arts — including visual arts, writing, and movement — to explore personal identity. Quezada, the child of immigrants, works with other children of immigrants at Monte del Sol this school year; in 2014-2015, she did the program at Capital High School.
Born in California, Quezada grew up in Tucson and southern New Mexico. She came to the College of Santa Fe to play tennis the year the struggling private college decided to institute intercollegiate sports. “I was part of the Prairie Dogs, but we didn’t really have a girls team because our coach quit before the beginning of the semester, so I practiced with the guys,” Daisy recalled.
She left for a year while CSF transitioned into SFUAD and then returned as an art major. She became interested in ceramics after taking installation and sculpture courses. When she first moved back to town after graduate school, Daisy was doing ceramics in her living room. She has since found a small studio space on Rufina Circle that she shares with a painter. She fires her pieces in a kiln at SFUAD in exchange for helping out in the ceramics studio.
Daisy didn’t enjoy living on the East Coast while earning her master’s degree. She was lonely and experienced tremendous culture shock there. In Santa Fe, however, she has always felt welcome. “I always felt there was love and passion here, and it’s where I needed to be if I wanted to be an artist. I can connect with artists locally and branch out and have wider conversations. Working with the students at the academy has been phenomenal. Even though I’m not native to Santa Fe, I definitely feel that we share a relationship.” — Jennifer Levin
A LOT OF WHAT I DEAL WITH IN MY WORK IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE U.S. AND MEXICO, AND THE BORDER — THE FEMALES WITHIN THAT STRUCTURE.