Mujeres de Maiz
Mujeres de Maiz (women of the corn) was founded in 1997 as a grassroots, multimedia women’s activist organization based in East Los Angeles, California. Mujeres de Maiz utilizes community partnerships, mainly those developed with local artists, performers, educators, and organizers in the creation and implementation of our programming. These partnerships are primarily with Chicana/Latina college graduates between ages 25-65 who are involved in the cultural, artistic and educational tapestry of the greater Los Angeles area. We invite partners to perform (music, dance, theater), exhibit their artwork, and facilitate interactive workshops, demonstrations, and classes on topics that range from sustainable urban gardening to self defense for women. Mujeres de Maiz regularly collaborates with women artists and educators of African, Central and South American, Jewish, Filipina, Asian, Native American and Sri Lankan descent who recognize the need and potential of cross-racial solidarity. As an intercultural, intergenerational and interdisciplinary collective they have made that space from the stage to the page, the gallery to the streets, and ceremony and wellness world for womxn of color by sharing their own specific blend of mind, body, spirit and cultural work.
The mission of Mujeres de Maiz (women of the corn) is to bring together and empower diverse women and girls through the creation of community spaces that provide holistic wellness through education, programming, exhibition and publishing.
As an inter-cultural, intergenerational and interdisciplinary collective they have made that space from the stage to the page, the gallery to the streets, and ceremony and wellness world for women of color by sharing their own specific blend of mind, body, spirit and cultural work.
Lilia Ramirez (Liliflor)
Liliflor was born and raised in Los Angeles, her inspiration comes from her upbringing, family, community and underground cultural movements. As a first generation Mexican American “Chicana” she navigated thru L.A’ art scene during the 80’s and 90’s hip hop movement. Graffiti subculture was a critical part in her development, inspiration and path towards a professional art and educational career. Liliflor hones her artistic ability to create vital images on canvas and walls that are representative of Angelinos. She is a cultural art educator championing youth in the arts, using art as a tool for education, cultural awareness, civic engagement, healing and transformation. Lilia’s strength lies in her bold approach in integrating Nahuatl cosmology aesthetic experimentation. She brings knowledge of her indigenous roots to bear in her work that dignifies the everyday people of Los Angeles. Her artwork weaves various subjects such as spiritual, urban environments, women, children, indigenous cosmology and culture. Aesthetically Lilia’s work reproduces familiar visual symbols and iconography, that enables her to create a composition of multilayered visuals and storytelling. The themes in her fine art and murals are combinations of ideas inspired by the communities she serves, as an artist, muralist and educator. The lively color schemes bind the iconography with the subject matter and composition.
Singer, Song Writer, Emcee (rapper), Poet, and Author Jessa Calderon is of the Chumash and Tongva Nations of Southern California. Jessa is a natural born singer who truly found her voice in hip-hop. As an emcee, poet and author, Jessa is able to share her culture and truth in a way that keeps the crowds intrigued. Not only does Jessa bring pictures to life through the minds’ eye with her writing, she also brings her listeners enlightenment and healing. Since 2019 Jessa has joined the Dream Warriors collective with Tanaya Winder, Frank Waln, Lyla June, Tall Paul, Mic Jordan and Gunner Jules. Together they share music, culture, stories, poems, seminars, workshops, webinars which equates to healing as a community.
Tina Orduno Calderon is of Gabrielino Tongva, Chumash, and Yoeme descent. She is wife, mother, grandmother, sister and auntie to many. After retiring from a Career as Operations Manager in the Manufacturing Industry, Tina began Homeschooling her Grandson and really focusing on her culture and traditional languages. Tina is a member of the Tongva Language Committee and is also a student learning the Šmuwič dialog of Chumash. Tina is a singer who also enjoys creative writing and composing poems and songs. Additionally, Tina is a culture bearer, traditional dancer and storyteller who strongly believes in honoring her ancestors by sharing their history, educating others about Indigenous truths and inspiring others to respect the lands, water, sacred elements and environment.
Felicia "ONYI" Richards (aka ONYI LOVE) is an artist and healer. The categories her healing work falls under include sound healing, talk therapy/counseling, and energy work (laying of hands or shamanic). Across each modality, she synergistically blends her ability to detect, interpret, conduct and channel energy with that of understanding the practical, mundane, and grounded elements to hold space for and inspire deep transformation.
As an artist, ONYI expresses her creative energy through music (primarily as a vocalist), reflective writing, serving as a muse for traditional and non-traditional visual art (photography, renditions, etc.), and in other ways. In 2020 she released her first solo album Songs of Soothing, which is a blend of prayer, sound healing, meditation, and her love and reverence for and take on some of her favorite Afro-Cuban Orisha songs (mixing traditional elements with her unique flare).
ONYI is a practitioner of Ìfá, the indigenous philosophical, spiritual, religious, and practical system developed by the Yorùbá people of West Africa (primarily Nigeria and Benin), and practiced throughout the world. She is initiated into the priestesshood of Ọ̀ṣun and Ọbàtálá—under Awo Falokun Faṣegun and Iya Fayomi Oṣundoyin Egbeyemi, within the Adesanya Awoyade lineage of Ode Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria—and is an active member of Ile Orunmila Afedefeyo.
In all she does, ONYI is dedicated to guiding people through their journey of awareness, self-love, grounding, and healing. Through the powerful tools of her art and healing work (which often overlap), and the wisdom she has gained from life experiences, observations, and teachings from elders, she assists people in igniting the fires within to create energetic shifts that ripple through every part of their being. ONYI encourages everyone to remember that we and all of our experiences are gifts. We have all been gifted with the power to transform and be in command of our existence.
Iris De Anda
Iris De Anda a Guanaca Tapatia poet, speaker & musician has been featured with KPFK & KPFA Pacifica Radio, organized with Academy of American Poets, performed at Los Angeles Latino Book Festival, Feria del Libro Tijuana, Casa de las Americas in Havana, Cuba and is named one of Today's Revolutionary Women of Color. Author of Codeswitch: Fires from Mi Corazon. Her second poetry book Roots of Redemption is forthcoming in 2021 with Flowersong Press. Find her on social media via @lawriterunderground.
Felicia 'Fe' Montes
Felicia Montes is a Xicana Indigenous artist, activist, community & event organizer, educator, FEmcee, designer, poet, performer, professor and practitioner of the healing arts living and working in the Los Angeles area. Known throughout the southwest as an established Xicana cultural worker of a new generation, she creates with In Lak Ech, Urban Xic, and La Botanica del Barrio and is the founding director of Mujeres de Maiz. She has worked on various transnational art and organizing efforts including work with the Zapatistas, Peace & Dignity Journeys and La Red Xicana Indigena. Felicia graduated with a B.A from UCLA in World Arts & Cultures with a minor in Chicanx Studies, a M.A in Chicanx Studies from Cal State Northridge, and a M.F.A from Otis College of Art & Design in Public Practice Art. In addition, she is an apprentice of Western Herbalism and Mexican Traditional Medicine.
I am a Xicana (Taíno-Otomí), an indigenous identified woman born and raised in East Los Angeles. I am a professional artist, educator and cultural worker. My creative interests include painting, drawing, printmaking (silkscreen & Intaglio), and the ancient art of papel picado.
I have been a K-12 teacher for over 25 years and currently in my 9th year of teaching elementary art in Culver City, California. I am a classically trained and educated artist with degrees in Illustration and Studio Art with a Masters in cross-cultural education & MFA in Fine Art. I also teach as a part-time professor for the California State University system whenever possible.
As a community cultural worker for over 25 years, I co-developed a Los Angeles, grassroots, women's, community arts organization called Mujeres de Maíz, (Women of Corn). Here I worked in a variety of publishing and media projects with cross-cultural aspects of the art world along with many artists of all ages and backgrounds, while providing instruction and guidance to many young, and emerging artists.
My professional work visually translates, documents and reinterprets the history of my ancestors through a personal, contemporary context that reconnects everyday life to the sacred. My work involves actively sifting and reworking within the roots of identity, spirituality and memory. My studio work has been published in several books and journals, more recently in, “Voices from the Ancestors: Xicanx and Latinx Spiritual Expressions and Healing Practices,” where I discuss the power of healing from personal trauma through art making.
I have exhibited my work in several galleries and museums throughout the country, most recently at the Manetti Shrem Museum in Davis, California. In 2015, I was one of 5 artists chosen from a national pool of applicants, who were sent to the Taller Experimental de Gráfica in Havana, Cuba, for an unprecedented, one-week printmaking exchange. This amazing and rare opportunity was provided through MOLAA, in partnership with Self Help Graphics & Art (SHG) and the Richardson Center for Global Engagement.
Marisol L. Torres is a performer, visual artist, and writer. She holds a B.A. in Latin American Studies and received an MFA in the school of Television, Film, & Theatre in Dramatic Writing at CSULA. From 1996 to 2008 she was a partner, writer, and performer with nationally touring theater comedy troupe ChUSMA. Marisol is a co-founder of Xicana poetry and song group In Lak Ech who, since their inception in 1997 has performed throughout the Southwest, Tijuana, Mexico City, Colombia, and Chiapas. In 2007, along with Marlene Beltran and Jo Anna Mixpe Ley, she helped start comedy theater troupe Las Ramonas. A visual artist working in various mediums from acrylic paint, murals, and jewelry-making to paper mache art; Torres also teaches workshops and classes in multi-media arts, playwriting, and theater throughout Los Angeles from South Gate to East LA to the East San Fernando Valley working with children, youth, and adults at schools, community centers, to universities.
Dr. Amber Rose Gonzalez
Amber Rose González is an educator-scholar-activist and Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at Fullerton College. She grew up in the San Gabriel Valley and graduated from Alhambra High School. Amber is a board member with Mujeres de Maiz and the CA Latino Leadership Institute. She received her MA and PhD in Chicanx and Feminist Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. González has facilitated numerous workshops and given guest lectures on a variety of social justice topics. Her passion is producing work and creating spaces that empower communities and bring about personal and social transformation. @amber_rose_go