Delilah M. Montoya
Contemporary Casta Portraiture: Nuestra “Calidad”
Following the 1825-Mexican Revolution, Mexico adopted a persona centered on mixed-race/ mestizo-identity. By embracing a collective identity of multiplicity (albeit still preferential to Spanish origins), Mexican leaders hoped to unify the populace and foster national pride. Nearly two centuries later the impact of this movement still resonates, as the majority of Mexicans and Central Americans identify as mestizo. By contrast, a 2015 a Pew Research survey found that only 6.9% of Americans identified as multiracial. This stark difference is indicative of a widely held black-and-white perspective in the United States, complicated by institutionalized racism and pervasive colonialist attitudes. It is this site of contestation, myth, and erased history where Delilah Montoya locates the series “Contemporary Casta Portraiture: Nuestra ‘Calidad’.” Her photographic portraits and accompanying DNA analysis provide insights for both sitter and viewer on the instability of identity and the means through which we are inclined to construct our own histories.