Lizzany Mayta, Sociolgy & Spanish, BMC ’24

This photograph embodies belonging, culture, resistance, art, and individualism. These are all key concepts which are important in any culture but are especially important in Mexican American culture. Dia de los muertos is an important celebration for the Mexicans. This Catrina is a symbol for the celebration but for me it is an example of how the Mexican American culture here in Philly can express and resist racist systemic institutions. Through this resistance and expression of their culture it strengthens the community and creates a sense of belonging as they celebrate part of their home country and “echando raices” (setting their roots) in a new unfamiliar country. La Catrina represents the beauty of Mexican art. It has intricate detailing on the dress, the head piece, and the makeup. This photograph encompasses so much beauty it’s an example of finding belonging in a community which through this celebration can resist a country full of hatred and unacceptance in being proud of their own identity and culture.

This photograph connects to what we have learned from the Mexican American communities’ course because throughout the course we have learned about the historical context of Mexican migrants and how it is a unique case in the United States. Move over, the way Mexican migrants have built resistance and resilience of their identity in the United States while passing it along to their children. Identity is an important discussion we discussed in class which involved the Mexican American identity which many of my peers were able to connect, but for me it made me realize how much similarities there is between other ethnic identities, we have similar experiences, but it is each unique to each person.  This photography embodies a unique identity for the individual dressing up as la Catrina. It is their culture, it’s who they are, their identity. They are not afraid to express this to the world instead they are proud to be who they are. As I reflect through this photography and what I learned in class I started to feel nostalgic and homesick with my own culture. I felt an urge to connect more with both of my cultures as the daughter of Argentinean and Peruvian immigrant parents.

This photograph means a lot because although I don’t have a direct connection with Mexican roots it makes me realize how much similarities there are between my Argentinian and Peruvian roots. Especially, in the similarities of the migrant experiences in having to restart their lives here in the United States and leave their home country. But also, the rich culture that there is within all ethnic cultures. Personally, this photograph had me reflecting on my own culture and traditions. This whole experience emphasized the importance to express and be proud of where we come from. How this community and all communities have built resistance and resilience in the United States. This photograph portrays Mexican American culture, and it is an example of how any culture and ethnicity can be symbolized within a photograph. A single photograph can capture so much meaning.