Los Angeles based artist Yreina D. Cervantez is a second generation Chicana, born in Garden City, Kansas in 1952, raised in Southern California and currently based in Los Angeles. She works primarily in painting, printmaking and muralism. She earned a B.A. in Fine Arts from I-J.C. Santa Cruz (1975) and an M.F.A. from U.C.L.A. (1989), and taught in the Department of Chicana/o Studies at California State University at Northridge for twenty years, from 1999 - 2019.
Her body of work reflects over forty years of exploration and the development of an iconography influenced by diverse creative expressions. Her art is informed by Native Mesoamerican my-thology and cosmology, Mexican art traditions, Chicanx self-determination, women's history, as well as themes of ecology, globalization and international struggles for human rights. Ancient concepts and metaphors are combined with current issues and reality, creating a hybrid language of contemporary glyphs in a rich visual narrative. A complex layering of symbolism and text from many sources characterize the compositions in Cervantez' artwork - inscribed testimonies imbued with spiritual and political meanings.
Through her art, teaching and community activism, she has contributed to the discourse on an ever evolving Chicanx aesthetic. Her work relates to themes of Sacred Space, specifically in re-gards to Xicana/Latina agency and the decolonized feminine body as a contested space and site of transformation. Autobiographical elements, and personal/collective memory and history or "autohistoria" (as defined by writer Gloria Anzaldua), are integrated in her imagery to communi-cate a contemporary Xicana-lndigena feminist thought and perspective.
Cervantez has exhibited internationally, nationally and locally in art institutions such as the Smithsonian Museum of Art, L.A. County Museum of rt, U.C.L.A. at the Armand Hammer Museum and Cultural Center and the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, Skirball Center and Museum, and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. She also has participated in exhibitions at community arts venues such as Self-Help Graphics Inc, PARC -The Social and Public Arts Resource Center, Tropico de Nopal Gal-lery and Art Space and the Ave. 50 Gallery. In 2017 a forty year survey of her work was exhibit-ed at the Vincent Price Museum of Art at East Los Angeles College.
Her art is in various collections including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago Illinois, the Blanton Museum of Art, UT Austin and others. Yreina D.Cervantez' art is written about and appears in numerous books and scholarly publications including: Laura E. Pérezi Ero-ldeologies: Writings on Art, Voices from the Ancestors and Beyond: Chicanx/Latinx Spiritual Expressions and Healing Prac-tices, Edited by Lara Medina and Martha R. Gonzales, iMurales Rebeldes! L.A. Chicana/o Mu-rals, Under Siege by Erin M. Curtis, Jessica Hough and Guisela Latorre, Spirituality, and the Decolonial, Sacred Iconogra-phies in Chicana Cultural Productions, by Clara Roman-Odio, the politics of spiritual and aes-thetic altarities, by Laura E. Perez, Walls of Empowerment:Chicana/o Indigenous Murals of California by Guisela Latorre, Just Another Poster: Chicano Graphic Arts in California (UCSB), and The Road To Aztlan: Art From A Mythic Homeland (LACMA)