Marisabel: Radical Girl using photography as advocacy tool

Who is a radical girl? Las Fotos Project, in conjunction with the Hammer Museum, created a panel and a series of workshops to highlight some of Los Angeles most radical girls. With talented Latinx and Chicana artists like Judy Baca, Genevieve Gaignard, Star Montana and Marisabel Perez we dived into discussion on artistic mediums, their aspirations  and drive to showcase Latino and Chicano heritage in LA. We had the pleasure of talking to one of the panelist and LFP alumni Marisabel Perez. She is currently a freshman at UC Irvine and has been part of Las Fotos Project for the past two and half years. Marisabel shares her first impression of Las Fotos Project as being one of the best programs she has ever been a part of. She truly enjoys being able to use photography as a gateway to photojournalism. Never in a million years she says, would she ever imagine LFP opening so many doors and opportunities, not only for her, but for so many young girls in the community.

During the panel Marisabel displayed and spoke a bit about her current photo exhibit with Las Fotos Project entitled “City Rising”, which centers around gentrification in Boyle Heights and South LA. This topic is a huge interest to Marisabel since she lives in a neighborhood where gentrification is very common day to day. Bearing witness to the struggles her community faces with displacement she is utilizing her photography as a catalyst for her voice against gentrification. While planning her overall presentation Marisabel wanted to make sure to hit three key points during the panel. Firstly, she wanted to highlight the people in her community, whom she photographed, since these people are what make community. Second, her photography needed to speak volumes on her stance against gentrification. Third, she really wanted to demonstrate, to all the young audience members, the power of women in art.

Coming out of the panel Marisabel says she felt inspired by the other panelist; she particularly felt a deep connection to Judy Baca due to their South Central roots. Baca’s talk on her murals and their sign of resistance resonated with Marisabel with her fight against gentrification. She felt the other panelist experiences and impact in the Chicano and Latino communities were important to discuss and highlight since not many women artists get a chance to be recognized for their efforts. Marisabel wants to let her fellow peers know that it’s never too late to get involved. Especially, during these trying times where communities are being displaced and kicked out of where their roots are grounded, art can be a sign of not only resistance but unity.

With her passion for photojournalism and drive to take a stand Marisabel will continue to use photography to advocate for something she deeply cares about, her community. With the help of Las Fotos Project she wants to continue learning new skills, broadening her photojournalism knowledge, and finding her voice to aid her in her journey.  She knows she still has so much to learn in photography, as well as, learning what resources she can use to get the word to fight gentrification, but she is ready to take on all the challenges and would love to be lead by LFP to accomplish her goals.

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