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Lily Guillen

<< Call & Response Artists

Lily Guillen

Morelia Feminicida

Thread on fabric

Lily Guillen’s work explores the ways in which Catholicism has been an enabler for domestic violence, and rejects those ideas through the reclamation of knowledge, physical space, authority, and autonomy. Each piece challenges traditional ideas of women in religion by resignifying a religious icon, reshaping the stories of women in the bible, and highlighting ways in which our Mexican culture has been affected by colonialism. She is also challenging traditional ideas of art by letting the work hang off the wall and canvas, not allowing it to be strictly two-dimensional or three-dimensional, and by transforming conventionally cheap materials. Photography and embroidery are two media that have been marginalized within the art world. Photography was not accepted as fine art in its beginning because it was faster than painting. Embroidery also wasn’t considered fine art in its beginning because it was mainly done by women in their homes. The act of reclaiming starts with the media and materials. Guillen also reflects on the liminality of being a Chicana artist by not letting the work be solely 3D or 2D. As Chicanas, we are neither from here nor there, we are from both places and neither at the same time; she wanted her work to reflect that. The inspiration from this work comes from her personal life growing up, but the work is not a literal illustration of her experience.
Maria Guillen, Morelia Feminicida, 2021. Image courtesy of the artist


Click on the images to expand.

LilyGuillen, Ni Virgen, Ni Puta, Solo Mujer, 2021; La Mujer Sin Nombre, 2021; Glamarosa Hasta Su Ultimo Suspiro, 2020, Morelia Feminicida, 2021, Tengo Autoridad. No Me Quedare Callada, 2021. Images courtesy of the artist


Lily Guillen is a visual artist who primarily works with photography and embroidery. She is Mexican- born, but was raised in Illinois. She received her MFA in photo media from Wichita State University in 2021. She earned her BA in studio art at Monmouth College in 2018.

Guillen’s work has been shown at numerous exhibitions, including the Salina Biennial at the Salina Art Center in Salina, KS, and #NewVisions2020 at the Texas Photographic Society in Coppell, TX. She has won various awards as an emerging artist, including Best in Show at the Elements Multi-Media Competition at the Cadman Gallery at Wichita State University and Third Place in the Facing Forward exhibition at the Light Art Space in Silver City, New Mexico. She was recently selected to participate in an artist residency with the Brashnar Creative Project in Skopje, North Macedonia.

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