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Abstract

Gloria Anzaldúa's conocimiento feels familiar to me. I recognize myself in her words. Like coming home. I became an artist because I sought more. A job or interesting career wasn't enough. To be an artist is a way of life, a filter interpreting life as you live it. Art is about paying attention, problem solving, language acquisition (visual literacy), and a disciplined approach--all aspects at the core of creativity. The artist shifts "to the inner exploration of the meaning and purpose in life" (Anzaldúa). So for me, Art is conocimiento, conocimiento is Art. While walking my dogs on the edge of a forest preserve in Geneva, Illinois (30 miles west of Chicago), one day, I stumbled upon a lone, neglected and unkempt cemetery enclosed by a ramshackle, padlocked cyclone fence. Scaling the fence, I found twenty-two, crude, unadorned gravestones inscribed with the names of young women who died between the ages of 14 and 21, from 1897-1930. Twenty-eight remaining tombstones have inscriptions of infants who died the same year they were born, between 1930-1970. The cemetery is a compelling symbolic statement for how women's rights and quality of life historically have been diminished, controlled and often forgotten, especially if one didn't fit into or fulfill the roles prescribed for women at the time.

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