Gloria Osuna Pérez spent less than 15 of her 52 years on earth in El Paso. But the Chicana artist continues to be celebrated as a local treasure decades after her passing.
Marking the twentieth anniversary of her death from ovarian cancer, the El Paso Museum of Art is featuring “Beyond Portaits,” an exhibition in honor of her work and iconic style.
Osuna Pérez was born in Madera, California in 1947. As the child of migrant farm workers she worked the fields picking fruit and witnessed the rise of the Mexican-American civil rights movement. She moved to El Paso with her family in the 1980s and became known for her work in ceramics and painting.
“One of her key signature statements that she makes is the color of the skin, because even if the original model was white skinned, Gloria painted her dark, because she figured the darkest of us are the once that get hit on first in a negative sense, and that’s our beauty,” says her husband, Roberto Pérez-Diaz.
The exhibition, drawn from the El Paso Museum of Art’s collection and loans, features several of Osuna Pérez’s paintings, an installation, as well as original book illustrations. The exhibit will be up through August 7.