List of Artist Statements


We the People,

Modern Democracy,

Serie Project: Los Dos Corazones and Smile Now Cry Later,

When My Heart Trembled,

Women Boxers: The New Warriors,

La Llorona in Lillith's Garden,

Sed: Trail of Thirst,

San Sebastiana: Angel de la Muerte,

Guadalupe en Piel,

La Guadalupana,

From the West: Shooting the Tourist,

El Sagrado Corazon/The Sacred Heart,

Codex Delilah: A Journey from Mexicatl to Chicana 


Delilah Montoya


Montoya's work is grounded in the experiences of the Southwest and brings together a multiplicity of syncretic forms and paractises - from those of Aztec Mexico and Spain to cross-border vernacular traditions - all of which are shaded by contemporary American custom and values. In her work, she explores the unusual relationships that result from negotiating different strategies of understanding and representing the rich ways of life and thought found in the Southwest.

Montoya 's numerous projects investigate cultural phenonmena; whether investigating spiritual rituals or questioning gender traditions, she always addresses and often confronts viewer' assumptions.

We the People  2008


2008           "We the People: Work by Delilah Montoya, Soody Sharifi, and Orlando Lara," Art League Houston, Houston, Texas.


                       By using the Art League of Houston as a cultural space, the U. S. culture with respect to Moslem Americans and the Mexican Migration was explored.  Soody Sharifi, Orlando Lara, and Delilah Montoya collaborated on an exhibition styled as installations where the voices of the "Other" Americans could be heard.  By making use of the American flag as the visual metaphor, the aim was to reveal the relationship of these two ethnic minorities within the U. S. political landscape.  The work was created during the 2008 election as a representation of American voices whose issues are generally demonized in the news media.

            Soody Sharifi's "Flag" series includes a set of staged photographs that deliberately juxtaposed the veil, a charged symbol of Islam, and the American Flag – to explore political tension.  Yet, similarly, the tension between the Mexican community and the U. S. democratic systems is bridged by the iconic symbol of Old Glory as it was waved by the Mexican American community during the massive 2006 national marches. 

            Drawing from previous works and from the current issues at stake, Montoya and Lara created the installation "Desire! Lines in the U. S. Landscape." The metaphor "Desire Lines" was opted from the architectural concept describing the well-trodden paths that pedestrians carve into areas not intended for crossing.  Realizing this, designers are faced with a choice: alter their designs to match the collective desire of the people, or find a way to force compliance.  The United States has repeatedly chosen to construct real and imaginary fences – for example, by creating new laws – and yet the continuing desire is still pressed into the U. S. landscape.  The installation included panoramic desert landscapes of migrant trails mounted on aluminum, and the video Elizabeth's Story (a border crossing testimonial) emphasizes the ghostliness of the treacherous crossings.

            Ultimately, this collaborative exhibition examined the border landscape, along with Islamic and U. S. Democracy symbols.  The collaborative works revealed Moslem and Mexican American cultures as significant contributors to the grand cultural landscape of America.  The

Smithsonian American Art Museum acquired the print “Desire Lines” for their permanent collection.


Modern Democracy, After Goya's "Disasters of War"  2009


Polymer Photogravure Print

2011-2012    "En Foco/In Focus:  Selected Works from the Permanent Collection," Light Work's Robert B. Menschel Photography Gallery, Schine Student Center, Syracuse, New York; Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC; Aljira, Newark, New Jersey; California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, California.

2009           "Topiary Text Lead, Individual Artist Grantees," 125 Gallery, Houston, Texas.


            Modern Democracy, After Goya's "Disasters of War is a statement on the consequence of war inspired by Goya's statement, "Grande hazaña! Con muertos! / Great deeds, with dead men!"  It is based on one of Luis Jiménez's final prints, which was published at Flatbed Press in Austin, Texas.  Jiménez's sources of inspiration for his print were the tragic war in Iraq, the print "Disasters of War" by Goya, and an insufferable divorce that consumed his emotions and resources.  He died before either the war or the divorce was resolved. 

            In studying Jiménez's print, Montoya became aware that, as citizens – much like  Jiménez's inability to untie his tragic relationship – our affiliation to "freedom" is bound to a "democratic" process that motivates us, not necessarily by reason, but rather by a consuming patriotic commitment.  To extend this thought beyond the boundaries of the United States, we as citizens of the world are bound to a submissive duty known as nationalism that serves the interests of those who control governments, and thus, as the print suggests, modern democracy is born /borne. 

            Master printer Dan Allison published Modern Democracy, After Goya's "Disaster of War" as a polymer photogravure print at Texas Collaborative Arts Studio.  The Houston Arts Alliance Individual Artist Grant Fellowship funded the publication of an edition of 14 polymer photogravure prints and 18 artist proofs.  In doing so, Montoya expanded her photo-printmaking experience to include the photo polymer process.

            This collaboration helped her understand the capabilities and limitations of this cutting-edge technology.  She found the process to be extraordinary in the application of ink to paper as it rendered a photographic surface.  The multiple layers built by a photographic matrix produced a vibrant palette that textured the image.  Registering the color and tones to one another was the most difficult step, something that both Allison and Montoya are contemplating how to improve.  The end product stands as an amazing example of the tones and contrast that can be achieved with the polymer photogravure print process.


Invitational Serie Project Residency  2007-2008


            The Serie Project was founded in 1993 by Austin artist Sam Coronado and has hosted more than 250 residencies to date. The Serie Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to the fine art of hand-pulled serigraphy prints to produce original works of art. The organization offered Delilah Montoya an Artist in Residence (AIR) that allowed her to create a limited edition of prints under the guidance of a Master Printer.  The program aims at increasing the presence of minorities in the art world by encouraging multi-racial participation, particular for the Latino Artist. Montoya was invited two years in a row, 2007 and 2008, resulting in the production of the following prints.


Los Dos Corazones (2007)

Estamos Aquí! We are Here!, ExhibitsUSA, Traveling Exhibit in Production

"Arte Tejano: De Campos, Barrios y Fronteras," OSDE Espacio de Arte, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

"New Prints 2008/Spring – Selected by Jane Hammond," New York School of Interior Design, New York, New York.


            In her print Los Dos Corazones, Montoya pays homage to her close friend, renowned sculptor Luis Jiménez, who passed away in 2006.  In the locket, Montoya uses a photograph of Jiménez that she took in 2005 when they were hiking near his ranch in New Mexico. The other images in the print are mementos that Montoya and Jiménez shared in real life, such as the rose petals whose beauty they both observed once outside her home, and the locket and charms that were gifts from Jiménez to Montoya.  "Luis was a very warm, caring individual, and I hope people can get this sense of him when looking at this print," she says. 


Smile Now, Cry Later (2008),

"Serie Quinceañera,"  Mexi-Arte Museum, Austin, Texas.

"New Print 2009, Summer Portraits:  In Pursuit of Likeness," IPCNY, New York, New York.


The title of Delilah Montoya's print Smile Now, Cry Later comes from an old barrio saying that refers to a person's feelings when doing something they shouldn't be doing.  Initially, one will enjoy the feeling and smile, but eventually the consequences will cause one to "cry later." The female boxer in the image has this tattooed on her arm, which Montoya chooses to make the focus of the print.  The image was taken from a photograph Montoya took as part of a series on female boxers, a subject she feels that deserves recognition as an emerging sport.  Montoya doesn't believe in an "innate female nature," but rather that, although a softer nature is encouraged in women, they don't have to be that way.  She plays with this idea with the quinceañera sign in the background, celebrating the Serie Project's 15th anniversary, and implying that "a little bit of a boxing match goes on" in quinceañera.



When My Heart Trembled  2006


2011           "Her Gaze/Su Mirada,"curated by Maruca Salazar, Museo de las Americas, Denver, Colorado.

2008           "Retrospective, Photographs by Delilah Montoya," La Llorona Art Gallery, Chicago, Illinois.

2006           "Día de los Muertos,"Mexican Museum, Chicago, Illinois.


            "When My Heart Trembled" is an installation produced as an ofrenda in tribute to Luis Jiménez for the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Celebration on September 25, 2006 at the Mexican Museum in Chicago, Illinois.  An ofrenda is an artistic offering made and traditionally offered for the Día de los Muertos in memory of the departed.

            A three-layered piezo print, with a background, mid-ground, and foreground was digitally montaged from images photographed in a burned out bosque river bottomland of the Rio Grande in Albuquerque.  It was produced while grieving and holding onto memories, as Montoya looked for her loss there in the bosque of New Mexico where a forest fire left the land charred. 

A destroyed landscape that foreground devastation and chaos, but most of all spoke of anguish, is depicted in the print.  Yet what Montoya remembered were the things that truly counted – the time spent together, love, and friendship.  Items that symbolized Jiménez's life and accomplishments were placed around and in front of the digital dimensional print for the ofrenda at the Mexican Museum.


La Llorona in Lillith’s Garden  2004


2011           "Pan u Circos," curated by Robert Boyd, PG Contemporary, Houston, Texas.

2009           "Visual Arts:  Stimulus," Diverse Works, Houston, Texas.

                  "Chicana Bad Girls – Las Hocionas," 516 Arts, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

2006           "Contemporary Art Houston," Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China.

2005           "La Madre Poderosa," The Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, New Mexico.

2004            "Atravesando Fronteras: Lines that Unite\Lines that Divide," El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, New




During the summer of 1996, Montoya assembled an installation in a bathroom in a hotel room at the Hotel Santa Fe in New Mexico, where she began to understand Llorona as a monster who was used culturally to scare women straight.  This room was converted into Llorona’s room, complete with her trappings, like water and a grapevine with exposed roots to resemble wire-like hair.  Cherubs float on the walls.  A shower curtain is screen printed with a line of young female faces expressing shock.  Tossed onto the bathroom floor are green prom high-heels and, for reading entertainment, the tabloids about the heinous newborn killings.  Graffiti-ed on the wall is the installation’s title, For a Good Time Call 1-900-Llorona.  

Later in 2004, Montoya collaborated with Tina Hernandez on a similar site-specific installation, La Llorona in Lillith’s Gardens, which consists of two photographic murals printed on canvas (20’ x 8’ and 10’ x 8’) created for El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe.  The sensual and mesmerizing photographic installation brings together two archetypal figures thought to have betrayed their husbands and murdered their children.  According to folklore, both Lillith and La Llorona continue to haunt the terrestrial realm as evil spirits.  These women were presented as monsters and constructed to send a lesson to young girls on how to behave or how they should feel about these sorts of “monstrous women.”  The installation provocatively explores the traditional double standards that determine appropriate behavior for women and invests these female archetypes with new meaning. This image was exhibited in numerous venues between 2004 and 2011.


Sed: The Trail of Thirst  2004-2008


2012           "Borders," Alcove Show, PDNB Gallery, Dallas, Texas."

                  "Crossing the Lines," 1310 Gallery, Sailboat Bend Artist Lofts, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

2011-2012    "En Foco/In Focus:  Selected Works from the Permanent Collection," Light Work's Robert B. Menschel Photography Gallery, Schine Student Center, Syracuse, New York; Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC; Aljira, Newark, New Jersey; California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, California. 

2011           "Her Gaze/Su Mirada,"curated by Maruca Salazar, Museo de las Americas, Denver, Colorado.

               "Crossings," curated by Diane Kahlo, Andres Cruz, and Marta Miranda, Lexington Art League,

               Lexington, Kentucky.

2010           "Voz Femenina," Café Flores, Houston, Texas.

                  "El Grito," Brad Cushman, University of Arkansas Little Rock Gallery, Little Rock, Arkansas.

                  "Albuquerque Now: Winter," Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

2008-2010    "Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement," Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles,

California; Museo Tamayo de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico; Museo Alameda, San Antonio, Texas; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona; Museo de Arte Zapopan, Museo Barrio, New York, New York.

2009           "Status Report: An Exhibition About the Border, Immigration, and Work," BRIC Contemporary Art

                  Museum, Brooklyn, New York.

                  "Chicana Art and Experience," AFL-CIO, Washington, D.C.

2008           "A Declaration of Immigration," National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, Illinois. 

"Death + Memory in Contemporary Art," Landmark Arts Gallery, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas.

               "The Trail of Thirst: Delilah Montoya," Patricia Corriea Gallery, Santa Monica, California.

2007           "Lost and Found 2:  Missing in Plain Sight," curated by Kathryn Davis, Patina Gallery, Santa Fe, New


2004           "Sed: The Trail of Thirst" (Two Person Installation with Orlando Lara), Talento Bilingüe de

             Houston, FotoFest, Houston, Texas. 



Sed: The Trail of Thirst, produced in collaboration with Orlando Lara, exhibited at Talento Bilingüe de Houston for FotoFest 2004, and funded by University of Houston Small Grants Program, engages the tropes of the Southwestern landscape.  However, rather than focusing on human interaction with landmarks and locales, this project wields its expressive power by focusing on the absence of the human figure in the landscape. 

This installation depicts the perilous migration route across the Arizona Sonora desert and the omnipresent thirst for water experienced by migrants during their clandestine border crossings.  The installation includes panoramic photographs documenting the desert landscape, digital photographic prints, found objects, and a video of the trail that crosses the Sonora Desert from northern Mexico into Arizona and the Tohono O’odham Nation.  Displayed on shelves in front of the photographs is a collection of objects left behind on the journey, including the mismatched shoes of adults and children and religious votive items – touchstones for spiritual sustenance and safeguards for a safe journey. 

This cultural landscape represents “a contemporary middle passage,” where between 1996 and 2004, more than 3,000 migrants perished along the border. Sed: The Trail of Thirst honors the courage of the migrant experience and those who have sought to provide the migrants with aid by establishing the controversial mini-oases scattered throughout the region. Both W. Jackson Rushing in Art Papers, July/August 2004 and Patricia C. Johnson in “Gallery Notes,” in the Houston Chronicle, April 1, 2004, reviewed this installation. 

The panoramic landscapes were re-imaged for inclusion into the Los Angeles County Museum traveling exhibit, "Phantom Sightings," 2008, and the work continued to travel throughout the United States after the show closed in 2010.  The panoramic landscapes were reviewed numerous times, including in the New York Times article "Phantom Sightings: They're Chicanos and Artists. But Is Their Art Chicano?" by Ken Johnson.


 Women Boxers: The New Warriors  2006



2012           "Domestic Disobedience: Female Artists Redefine the Feminine Space,curated by Nuvia Crisol Ruland, San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery, San Diego, California.

2011-2013    "Infinite Mirror:  Images of American Identity," curated by Blake Bradford, co-curated by Benito

Huerta, Robert Lee, Airtrain Traveling Exhibition, Syracuse University of Art Galleries, New York; Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery, Keene State College, New Mexico; University of Maryland University College, Adelphi, Maryland; Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Lowe Art Museum, Coral Gables, Florida.

2011           "Her Gaze/Su Mirada,"curated by Maruca Salazar, Museo de las Americas, Denver, Colorado.

2010           "Shrew'd:  The Smart and Sassy Survey of American Women Artists," Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery,

                   Lincoln, Nebraska.

2008           "Natural Forces:  Laura Aguilar, Delilah Montoya," Magnan Emrich Contemporary, New York, New York.

                  "Photography: New Mexico,"University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

2007           "Aquí No Hay Virgenes:  Queer Latina Visibility," The Village, Los Angeles, California.

2006           "Women Boxers: The New Warriors,"Andrew Smith Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

                  "Las Malcriadas,"MacKinney Avenue Contemporary Arts Center, Dallas, Texas. 

                  "Women Boxers: The New Warriors,"Patricia Correia Gallery, Santa Monica, California.

                  "Women Boxers: The New Warriors,"Project Row Houses, Houston. Texas.

                  "Green,"516 Arts, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 



Women Boxers: The New Warriors, an exhibition and book project, portrays professional female boxers as malcriadas.  Funded in part by the University of Houston Small Grants Program and the Cultural Arts Council of Houston and Harris County, this work was exhibited during FotoFest 2006 at Project Row House and later at the MacKinney Avenue Contemporary in Dallas, Texas, where Dee Mitchells for Art in America reviewed the show. Three prints from the series were purchased by the Sheldon Museum of Art for their permanent collection and will be published in Encounters:  Photographs from the Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska Press, 2013.  Two prints, "Terri 'Lil Loca' Lynn Cruz" and "Pink" were selected for the traveling exhibit, "Infinite Mirror:  Images of American Identity," produced by Artrain Inc.  The Museum of Fine Art Houston acquired the print Audrey in her Corner for their photography collection.

By crossing the ropes and getting into the ring, these professional athletes enter into the bastions of manliness to confront a brutal sport.   Many, in fact, are appalled by the violent sport of boxing and believe it should be banned.  But these women, determined to box, turn their backs on these opinions.  Title IX of the Civil Rights Act and the feminist movement gave them the right, and they have taken it willingly.  Female boxers fight because they can – they are professionally trained, and the boxing rules are now modified to allow women athletes to participate in this sanctioned combat. 


  • The book Women Boxer: The New Warriors is available online at

  • San Sebastiana: Angel de la Muerte  2002


    2008           "San Sebastiana:  An Installation by Delilah Montoya and Dissonance," 125 Gallery, Houston, Texas.

                      "Death + Memory in Contemporary Art," Landmark Arts Gallery, Texas Tech University, Lubbock,


    2006           "Las Malcriadas,"MacKinney Avenue Contemporary Arts Center, Dallas, Texas. 

    2003           "The Legend of Doña Sebastiana, Spanish Colonial Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

                      "!PicARTE! Photography Beyond Representation," Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona.

    2002           "Ahora: New Mexican Hispanic Art," Art Museum of the National Hispanic Culture Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

    2001           "San Sebastiana," Andrew Smith Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.



    San Sebastiana: Angel del La Muerte is a DVD video installation first shown at the Andrew Smith Gallery and later in “Ahora: New Mexican Hispanic Art” at the Art Museum of the National Hispanic Culture Center and in “!PicARTE! Photography Beyond Representation” at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.  It is also online at as a Flash media interactive web movie. 

    The movie character sketches Doña Sebastiana, a New Mexican folk icon, traditionally used in northern New Mexico by the Penitential Brotherhood.  Doña Sebastiana, known simply as La Muerte, is the allegorical icon for death.

    According to Mollie Garcia, Montoya’s mother, Sebastiana never wanted to be Death. Really, all she wanted was Love and – if not love – at least Respect.  So that we all could die, it was up to God to convince Sebastiana that she is the right woman for the job.  As He proceeds, she starts to barter with God for the upward mobile position of sainthood. 

    What Sebastiana brings to the deathbed is good old fashioned humanity – that is, she loves gossip, and Time can be gained by occupying her with a little seedy personal history. This gives way to her self-righteous nature as she uses a satirical wit to comment on the chisme /gossip of human folly. 

    Certainly she never understands why people fear her, for when she looks at herself in the mirror, she is a beautiful diva, but when we look at her she is a skeleton/calaca.  The interactive video stream at allows the viewer to choose between watching her as a diva or as a calaca.  San Sebastiana: Angel de la Muerte portrays a woman empowered and is the ultimate malcriada - that is, she is a very Bad Girl.

    Guadalupe En Piel   2000     


    2007     "Visioning the Virgin," Texas A & M University, Corpus Christi, Texas.

    2004     "Altered States: Digital Art," Gallery at University of Texas-Arlington, Arlington, Texas.

    2002     "El Espejo, Arte Latino from Texas," ArtScan Gallery, Houston, Texas.

                "Guadalupe en Piel: Works by Montoya," Instituto Cultural Mexicano, Los Angeles, California.

    2001-02 "Who's the Virgin of Guadalupe?" Henry Street Settlement, Abrons Art Center, New York, New York..

    2001     "Discontent," College of Santa Fe Art Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

    2000     "Guadalupe En Piel," Andrew Smith Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico. 



    The Guadalupe En Piel was first designed as a window installation for the Andrew Smith Gallery (December 2000) in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and was later shown at venues in Los Angeles, Arlington, Silver City, and Houston.  In 2002, an artist statement, “On Photographic Digital Imaging” was published in the Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies. 

    This installation was Montoya’s response to the question, “Why does an Hispanic inmate tattoo the Guadalupe on his back?”  After considering the question, Montoya realized it had less to do with the location of the icon and more to do with the material that it was pressed into – the skin. 

    If one considers the tilma as an Aztec ritual cloak that was worn by Juan Diego when the Guadalupe miraculously imprinted her image onto the maguey fabric, the cloth is not only a symbolic “magical alteration of reality,” but also becomes a metaphor for the second skin.  For Aztec society, the second skin evokes the memory of the Xipe Totec's flayed skin garment, which was presented to this deity following sacrificial rituals in observance of military and fertility rites.  

    The Xipe Totec was believed to be the male equivalent to the earth and moon goddesses, Tonantzin.  During the ritual, the male youth to be flayed wears a mask made of female skin as a symbolic representation of Tonantzin, who some suggest is reincarnated as the Guadalupe. The tilma is associated with the Xipe Totec ritual, because the sacrificial female, representing the goddess Tonantzin, wears a maguey tilma as part of the ceremony. 

    With all this in mind, the contemporary tattooing of the Guadalupe onto the back of the Hispanic inmate is not an odd coincidence – that is, if one trusts the collective consciousness.  In many ways this practice suggests a ritual act meant to provide protection against harm and also empowers the inmate during conflict by wearing “Our Lady.”  In following the myth, the tattooed inmate can be thought of as a symbolic Xipe Totec who is the male aspect of Tonantzin and, by wearing the Guadalupe, he empowers himself with both the male and female energies.


    1992 – 2000

    La Guadalupana  1998


    2011           "Case Studies from the Bureau of Contemporary Art: Selections from the New Mexico Museum  of Art Contemporary Collection," curated by Laura Addison, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

    2004           "Art, Culture, Place: Visual Traditions of the Southwest," University of New Mexico Art Museum,

                      Albuquerque, New Mexico.

    2003           "Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self." International Center for Photography, New

    York, New York;  Seattle Museum of Art, Seattle, Washington; San Diego of Art and Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, California.

    2002           "Guadalupe En Piel: Works by Montoya," Instituto Cultural Mexicano, Los Angeles,  California. 


    2001           "Lifting the Veil," Karen Stambaugh Gallery, Miami, Florida.

    1999-2000    "Imágenes e Historias: Chicana Altar-inspired Art."  Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford,

    Massachusetts; Museum of El Paso, El Paso, Texas; The de Saisait Museum at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California.


    This installation of the Virgin of Guadalupe was conceived for the invitational show “Ida y Vuelta: Twelve New Mexican Artists.”  La Guadalupana has been exhibited extensively, as well as included in two national traveling exhibitions, “Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self,” hosted by International Center of Photography, and “Imágenes e Historias: Chicana Altar-inspired Art,” hosted by Aidekman Arts Center at Tufts University. It has been published and reviewed in numerous publications such as "Secrets of Survival” by Sandra Matthews, “Behold Their Natural Affinities” by Victor Alejandro Sorrel, and "Looking Through the Eye of the Goddess: Delilah Montoya’s Photoinstallation La Guadalupana" by Asta Kuusinen in Chicana/o Art: A Critical Anthology, 2013.  The Museum of Final Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico purchased a smaller version, and Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts purchased the original installation thus placing both installations in permanent collections.

    This work was originally produced for an installation at the Musée de Beaux-Arts Denys-Puech in Rodez, France, where the basilica in the central plaza hosted a 17th century Mexican easel painting of the Guadalupe.  Since the community was familiar with the Guadalupe as a religious relic, Montoya aimed to reintroduce this image as a cultural icon that would demonstrate the Chicano vernacular.  The intent was to bring back to Europe the Guadalupe as a container of the underpinnings of colonial dark side that foregrounds captivity, oppression, and servitude. 

    In the biography excerpt from Women Boxers: The New Warriors, Ondine Chavoya writes that, "This duality of saints and sinners--and the associated themes of life, death, and salvation--is also powerfully depicted in La Guadalupana (1998)… La Guadalupana is a 15 ½ -foot photomural.  Shot with a large-format camera, the monumental image features a man faced away from the viewer, standing in front of metal bars, and posed with his hands behind his back in handcuffs.  Emblazoned on his back is an elaborate and brilliant tattoo of La Virgen de Guadalupe.  The image effectively channels the sacred and the profane and transforms the physical space of a prison cell into a sacred space and the body of the inmate into an ofrenda or altar.  The memorializing function of the installation becomes all the more palpable when you learn that the person portrayed, Félix Martinez, was killed in his Albuquerque jail cell shortly after the photograph was taken.  In this instance, the paired relationship of saint and sinner has the capacity to transform the viewer before the image into the penitent.”


    From the West: Shooting the Tourist   1994


    2004           "Contested Narratives: Chicana Art from the Permanent Collection," The Mexican Museum, San

                       Francisco, California.

    1996           "From the West," Mexican Museum, San Francisco, California.


    This work attempts to redirect documentary photography from the "objective" vision of modernity by documenting the search for the "West" by way of the tourist attraction.  The notion is to return the documentary gaze. 

    This work was commissioned by the Mexican Museum for the traveling exhibition "From the West" and consists of seven artist books constructed into accordion-fold postcards and one photomural.    The mural depicts a tourist line waiting for a ride on Thunder Mountain at Frontier Land in Disneyland.   The series of post cards documents various tourist activities such as staging, going native, collecting, and looking. The work was reviewed in Lucy Lippard's publication, On the Beaten Track: Tourism, Art and Place (1999).    


    El Sagrado Corazón/ the Sacred Heart  1993


    2011           "Splendors of Faith/Scars of Conquest,"Oakland Museum, Oakland, California.

    2010           "Embracing Ambiguity: Faces of the Future," Jillian Nakornthap and Lynn Stromick, California State

                       University, Fullerton Main Art Gallery, Fullerton, California.

    2004           "Common Ground: Discovering Community in 150 Years of Art," Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington,D.C.

    2002           "Arte y Cultura," Carnegie Art Museum, Port Hueneme, California.

    2001           "El Sagrado Corazón," Frances McCray Gallery, Silvery City, New Mexico. 

                      "Veiled Interiors," Center for Southwest Research, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

    2000           "Revealing and Concealing: Portraits and Identity," Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, California.

    2000-2003    "Arte Latino: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum." El Paso Museum of  Art, El

    2003           Paso, Texas; Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, Florida; Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs,

    California; Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois; Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Oakland Museum of Art, Oakland, California; The Art Museum at Florida International University, Miami, Florida.


    A College Arts Association Professional Development Fellowship and the University of New Mexico Southwest Hispanic Research Institute funded this work.  Exhibited in venues such as the Smithsonian International Gallery and FotoFest 1994, it has also traveled with international shows to Japan, the Soviet Union, and France. The work is part of numerous permanent collections such as the Smithsonian, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Julia J. Norrell collection. The work was reviewed by Asta M. Kuusinen in her doctoral dissertation, Shooting from the Wild Zone:  A Study of the Chicana Art Photographers Laura Aguilar, Celia Alvarez Muñoz, Delilah Montoya, and Kathy Vargas.

    This collection of collotypes portrays Albuquerque’s Chicano Community.  The series explores the manifestation of the Sacred Heart as a cultural icon that is embedded in the religious fabric of Chicano culture. Based on Montoya’s research and her Mestiza perspective, it is concluded that this Baroque religious symbol expresses shared cultural religious patterns that connote a syncretic relationship between European Catholicism and Aztec philosophy.  The Baroque Sacred Heart in the Americas is an icon that resulted from an encounter.  It is not purely Indian in content and never completely European in its form.  Rather, it is a hybrid of two diverse cultures that clashed and bonded at a particular historic moment and created the foundation for religious syncretism.

    This visual investigation of a cultural icon moves away from the traditional “objective” approach to reveal the hand of the photographer in relation to the community that was being depicted.  In representing the Sagrado Corazón, the community was invited to collaborate with Montoya in the realization of the project.  This collaborative project documented the manifestation of the heart as a cultural icon within the participating community.  The alliance resulted in a magnificent display of creative interdependence that validates the Sagrado Corazón as an integral part of the Chicano collective conscience.




    Codex Delilah: A Journey from Mexicatl to Chicana  1992


    2010          "Embracing Ambiguity: Faces of the Future," Jillian Nakornthap and Lynn Stromick, California State,

                      Fullerton Main Art Gallery, Fullerton, California.

    2004          "Beyond Words:  Artists and the Book," Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico

    1992-1994   "The Chicano Codices: Encountering Art of the Americas."  The Mexican Museum, San Francisco,

    California;  Foothills Art Center, Golden, Colorado; California State University Art Gallery, Northridge, California; Plaza del Raza, Los Angeles, California; Centro Cultura de la Raza, San Diego, California;  El Centro del la Raza, Seattle, Washington.



    This work was created for the traveling exhibit “The Chicano Codices: Encountering Art of the Americas,” which was curated by Marcos Tranquilino Sanchez for the Mexican Museum in San Francisco. Two copies were made; one is at the Stanford University Libraries, and the other is at the Center for Southwest Research at the University of New Mexico, Zimmerman Library Collections.  Ann Marie Leimer, PhD, published a critical review of the work entitled “Crossing the Border with La Adelita: Lucha-Adelucha as Nepantlera in Delilah Montoya’s Codex Delilah” in Chicana/Latina Studies Journal, Volume 5, Issue 2, Spring 2006.

    Within the framework of a feminist vision, The Codex Delilah: A Journey From Mexicatl to Chicana approaches the Spanish/Indian encounter from a mestizaje perspective.  As a Chicana, Montoya is conscious of how the historical contributions of women have been undermined or completely ignored.  This project attempts to correct that injustice by rethinking the traditional interpretation of the European/ Native Encounter.  The narrative of this artist book is viewed from the perspective of Six Deer, a fictional young Mayatec girl from the Tutuepec region near present-day Mexico City.  From her home to the nuclear weapons laboratories in New Mexico, the codex details Six Deer's journey of enlightenment. 

                As she journeys pal norte, towards Aztlán (the spiritual home of her ancestors) Six Deer also travels forward in time, meeting well‑known women of the Chicano folklore tradition.  Each of these characters informs her of the long and negative historical processes that were initiated by the European encounter.  As Six Deer travels through time and space, she learns and simultaneously reveals to us our historical identity and how, for Chicano people, survival has meant learning to live within a multicultural heritage and ambiance.




    Artist Statements

    Published and UnPublished Essays

    Codex Delilah 1992 --The Photograph Imaged 2000 -- The Digital Imprint and the Guadalupe En Piel 2000 -- Latino/a As Other 2005, --Women Boxers 2006