Project Description

Delilah Montoya

Tijerina Tantrum

Born in Fort Worth, TX, but raised in the Midwest, Delilah Montoya’s art practice interrogates the social and cultural life of the American Southwest. A feminist Mexican-American artist, Montoya’s work comments on religion, politics, and gender in Chicano/a, Latino/a, Native American, and Anglo-American culture. Montoya’s work often emphasizes syncretism—the blending of beliefs and practices—and the interplay of plural perspectives in the context of mestizaje (a complex concept of hybridity relating to the socio-cultural and political frameworks at play in the formation of multi-ethnic identity). These emphases are elaborated both in terms of Montoya’s subject-matter and her multi-media, photographic, and printmaking practices.

Tijerina Tantrum demonstrates Montoya’s combinatory working method as a photographic collage produced as a serigraph (a print created using the silkscreen process). Juxtaposing black and white historical documentary photographs related to the 1960s efforts of New Mexico land rights activist Reies Tijerina with colorful, close-up images of a woman’s body in motion that may reference a dance of the same time period called the Tijerina Tantrum, this artwork captures the turbulent energies of the civil rights era. The term “tantrum” suggests the patronizing attitude of the government towards the protesters’ righteous defiance, while the red ink in the background suggests the attendant and historical violence against Chicano/a and Latino/a populations. The insistent and active bodies of the protestors and the dancing woman in the two sets of photographs, however, reasserts the power of their presence to shape and define both space and identity.

Montoya earned her MFA from the University of New Mexico and has taught at numerous institutions, including California State University, Los Angeles from 1994 to 1996.


Artist: Delilah Montoya
Title: Tijerina Tantrum
Date: 1989
Medium: Ink on archival paper
Type: Assemblage
Dimension: 32 5/8 x 26 1/8 in. (82.87 x 66.36 cm)
Collection: The Buck Collection at the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art
Copyright: © 1998 Artist, Delilah Montoya