As a scholarship recipient for the 2023 Really Big Prints event, artist Nancy Ariza printed from a design that is a form of documentation preserving family stories in an attempt to better understand and honor her ancestral roots.
Nancy's print is part of a larger body of work entitled “Breaking the Horse’s Jaw,” which is inspired by researching her Mexican heritage and its connections to horsemanship.
For a period in his life, Nancy's paternal grandfather worked as an artisan making fustes (saddle trees) and embroidering saddles with traditional geometric patterns and floral motifs. These patterns directly influenced Nancy's design for her 2023 Really Big Prints block, which combined these elements in a symmetrical composition inspired by papel picado, Mexican cut paper.
Nancy's work aims to present a diverse cultural perspective on horses. The equestrian field in the United States is predominantly white, and it fails to acknowledge that many cultures around the world and in the U.S. share connections to horses.
The opportunity to print as part of the Really Big Prints event presented an inviting challenge to Nancy, who enjoyed diving back into woodcuts after exclusively working in screenprint for the past few years.
Nancy will revisit this piece, experimenting with adding embroidered elements. She also plans to start another 32” x 60” block to continue this series and look for exhibition opportunities to show her in-progress body of work.