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Artist Survives Relentless Pandemic
Open Studio - Friday, Saturday, Oct. 30, 31

The artist, center

by Isis Rodriguez

We have lost 1.2 million lives (WHO). Millions of businesses have closed around the globe. Abject poverty has risen enormously. And for many of the rest of us, enduring this deadly pandemic for over 6 months has not been easy either.

At the beginning of this pandemic, in the middle of March, I was in San Francisco for my first art opening in the United States in 20 years. The name of the show was, "Women in Serpent Skirts and Eagle Talons." Its theme, curated by Martina Ayala, was honoring the great Chicana philosopher, Gloria Anzaldúa.

My work was selected for this exhibit because my art is rooted in the 16th century Aztec word, "nepantla," meaning, "torn between ways." I use this word to express how women are divided about their bodies and sexuality. I put a Zapatista mask over a woman wearing lingerie to symbolize "protesting shame." My observations of myself and others is that when we suffer from shame, we loose our self-esteem and the ability to live a full life.

At the "Women in Serpent Skirts" opening a crowd of 800 was expected to attend, but only 50 arrived, mostly the artists that participated in the show. The curator was wearing a mask and gloves. We were not allowed to greet each other with hugs, only with fist and elbow bumps, which was aggressive and lacking of warmth. Particularly because it was in the early days of the pandemic, we received conflicting and biased news from the media and politicians, which planted the seed of fear.

Miraculously I sold art both at the art exhibit and in my gallery here in San Miguel. With this I knew I had enough money to survive for 3 months. I immediate got on a plane and returned to San Miguel to attend my art gallery and quarantine.

Back then, I just wanted to do the right thing: unite with my fellow Americans & Mexicans and battle this virus together. I sacrificed my business, by shutting it down, optimistic that it was a temporary moment. And besides, maybe this virus would make us appreciate what we have and reunite us again in this polarized world.

So I obeyed the pleas of the doctors and politicians to stay inside and wore my mask. I was hopeful that together we could save lives and beat this pandemic. But the government continued its lockdown by calling artists and art galleries "non essential" and the media's relentless coverage on Covid 19 continued to scare people into staying indoors.

I can only begin to tell you the range of emotions I felt during this time: fear, anger, resentment, hopelessness... And let me be clear. I was NOT fearful of dying from a virus!!! But I was very fearful of having my identity and reason for living being taken from me. I resented the government labeling me as, "non essential" as an excuse to shut me down. I received emails from Airbnb and Trip Advisor telling me that my "experiences" would be "paused" until further notice. All my 55 years on this planet and all the hard work that I did to have a stable and fruitful life, now rested in the hands of government and online tourist platforms. Suddenly, I began to feel hopeless. I saw my dream crumble in San Miguel.

In August, something snapped inside of me. I refused to wear my mask. When I was forced to, I would put on a black mask, with word painted white on it, "CONTROL" to protest being shut up and shut down.

I tend to be very outspoken. I knew that I had to do something with my frustration, in order to keep myself from going ballistic on the ‘sheeple', the people that blindly follow. I realized that I needed a shaman. And she came in the form of Ayn Rand. In an interview she did with Mike Wallace (minute 4:25) she says:

"I'm challenging the moral code of altruism, the precept that man's moral duty is to live for others, that man must sacrifice himself to others... I consider altruism evil... I say that man is entitled to his own happiness and that he must achieve it himself, but he cannot demand that others give up their lives to make him happy... nor should he wish to sacrifice himself for the happiness of others... man should have self esteem..."

When I heard these words I felt instant relief. She boldly reminded me of the important role that I have as an artist and to continue to fight for my freedom and happiness. I realized how important it was for me to take the risk of opening my studio, regardless of this pandemic and what other's think, to exhibit publicly the shaman and his xoloitzcuintles as symbols of the resilience of mankind. The Spiritual Warrior is an archetype that helps us kill off the fearful self and let us give birth to a new self that is courageous and ready to confront our fears. His pack of dogs, Mexican Xoloitzcuintles, were once used in funerary rituals as companions into the afterlife. They are metaphors of transformation.


Friday & Saturday, October 30 & 31, 3-5pm
Galeria Nepantla, Pablo Yañez 9, Col. Independencia

Isis opens up her outside patio for a
"Drive By" Open Studio, called, "Perros Sagrados y Sus Chamanes".

Drive by, walk by, stop by and have a nice warm cup of atole.
Celebrate the death of your fearful self and allow your courageous self to emerge!


Isis Rodriguez is a world renown artist who specializes in contemporary mythology. Originally from California, Isis moved to Oaxaca to attend the radical artist residency , La Curtiduria in 2007 to develop new mythology for a modern world. She opened the doors to her concept gallery, Galeria Nepantla in 2017 in San Miguel de Allende, to experiment with conflict resolution, by creating contemporary archetypes that battle and over come common issues we face today. Currently, Isis has began a patreon channel to continue her provocative writings about her art for intellectual warriors. To support Isis, go to:

Other important links to follow Isis:

contact: isis@isisrodriguez.com

events @ sanmiguelevents.com

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copyright 2023