My Alamo,

Kathy Vargas

Mixed media with hand-coloured gelatin silver print, with text | Técnica mixta con impresión en gelatina de plata pintada a mano, con texto
Each 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in)
Collection of Zoë A. Díaz | Colección de Zoë A. Díaz
Photo courtesy of the artist | Imagen cortesía del artista

Artist’s Statement

This series is about my usually ambiguous relationship with the Alamo. Living all my life in San Antonio, Texas, and being both Chicanx and Tejana, I have negotiated that relationship with the “Shrine to Texas Liberty” for a very long time (also known as the Alamo). Even before I was born, the Alamo figured in family history and identity. That issue of history, identity, and my anxious relationship with the Alamo are tied up in questions like, “Which side was your family on?”  (Answer: neither.) “Are you a Mexican or a Texan? (Answer: both—and much more.)  “How do you like my ‘coon skin hat?”  (Answer: are you sure it’s dead?”)

Some of my recollections of the Alamo are humorous, some are serious. Most have a bite that I did not invent. It recurs in the inherent aggression of a racism that occurs when we stand before war monuments and think of ourselves as being on one side or the other, whether by choice or because history gave us no choice. Looking at the Alamo and thinking of myself as victor or vanquished only led to unease and ambiguity. My changing relationship with the Alamo is what this series is about.