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Las Hermanas Iglesias. "Commiserates (After recovering from Covid)," 2022, Photo courtesy of the artists.
Las Hermanas Iglesias. "Commiserates (After recovering from Covid)," 2022. Photo courtesy of the artists.

A story of shared pregnancy: Tying the personal to larger cultural systems

Las Hermanas Iglesias fight for reproductive rights with a new exhibition in Texas

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A new show at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas in Austin displays the new work by Las Hermanas Iglesias that tackles the national question of reproductive rights. The exhibition, on view until July 9, 2023, is just a few miles from Texas’s capitol building, whose laws coupled with the Supreme Courts overturning of Roe v. Wade have created “a near total abortion ban” in the state.

'Las Hermanas Iglesias' is the moniker for Lisa and Janelle, the children of Norwegian and Dominican immigrants born and raised in Queens. Their multidisciplinary work explores issues of hybridity, social participation, and transnational identities, as well as identity and feminism. 

Through employing playful structures that respond to the community and geographical context of each project, Las Hermanas Iglesias create artworks that resist a signature aesthetic, disrupt borders, engage absurdity, and promote the benefits of working together.

In 2012, the artist sisters Lisa and Janelle began their Commiserates project as a response to the stillbirth of Lisa’s daughter, and the photography series has since expanded to include an open-source resource around grief and infant loss. 

In their Texas exhibition, the sisters have expanded upon Commiserates, and showcase their shared birthing journey during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through textiles, collages, neon signage and sculptures, Las Hermanas Iglesias explore healthcare access, paid leave, miscarriage, and pregnancy from the perspective of Dominican-Norwegian second-generation Americans. 

Lisa (born 1979, Queens, NY) holds an MFA from the University of Florida and is currently an Associate Professor at Mount Holyoke College. Janelle (born 1980, Queens, NY) received her MFA in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University and is an Assistant Professor at the University of California San Diego.

Her art has been included in numerous major art exhibitions and public and private collections across the United States. 

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