Your NPR news source
Yvette Mayorga with illustrated text

Photographer: Mercedes Zapata/Courtesy of Yvette Mayorga. Illustration by Jessica Martinaitis.

An Artist’s 'Low Battery Of An Exhausted Search Of COVID-19'

Note: Yvette Mayorga is a multidisciplinary artist in Chicago, and her essay is in the form of this painting. It’s made from acrylic, nails, collage, rhinestones and more. The painting is currently on view at El Museo del Barrio in New York City. Mayorga wrote the following text to go with it.



Yvette Mayorga's The Procession

Yvette Mayorga’s The Procession (After 17th-century Vanitas) – In loving memory of MM, 2020.

Photographer Mercedes Zapata/Courtesy Yvette Mayorga


A flamed tricked-out car drives in a procession for my primo of the other pandemic (ICE).

A table filled with sugar sculptures, cake toppers of lovers a la fête galante, 100% chicken, Rococo plates, knives that cut, burner phones, fries, burgers, cherries, fruit peeled like my prima’s nails, bedazzled caps, chains that restrain, tooth brushes, tuna cans, a hand mirror to see your place, lip stains of past joys.

Low battery of an exhausted search of COVID-19, extended hands of labor that picked your food, with gloves glossed with acrylics, asking you to not look at what you desire.

About the author: Yvette Mayorga is a multidisciplinary artist based in Chicago. Her work interrogates the broad effects of militarization within and beyond the U.S./Mexico border and intervenes in the colonial legacies of art history. She fuses confectionary labor with found images to explore the meaning of belonging.

Mariah Woelfel produced this story for audio. Follow her @MariahWoelfel. Jessica Martinaitis and Mary Hall produced this for digital. Follow them @jess_morgan and @hall_marye.

The Latest
The festival will be exiting Douglass Park after a 10-year run that has been plagued by controversy in recent years.
On Thursday, the orchestra will perform a final work from Montgomery — the grace note on her wildly prolific three-year run as the city’s adopted new-music superstar.
The awards, considered the Oscars of the culinary world, were presented Monday night at the Lyric Opera House.
The movie from directors Kelly O’Sullivan and Alex Thompson premieres in Chicago on Friday before opening to audiences nationwide.
Got a bike? Hit up the path along Lake Michigan — and keep your eyes peeled for architectural gems and important historical markers from the South Side to downtown.