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Virgen de los Caminos

1994 Consuelo Jiménez Underwood Born: Sacramento, California 1949 embroidered and quilted cotton and silk with graphite 58 x 36 in. (147.3 x 91.4 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase 1996.77 Not currently on view

Hear more about
Virgen de los Caminos

Hear more about
Virgen de los Caminos
from American Art staff

Luce Center Quote

"I am a colonized indigenous artist that speaks with the authentic voice of the universal woman . . . el Hilo (Thread). With formal grace and beauty, I express the quiet rage that has permeated the indigenous culture of the Americas for over five hundred years." Underwood, October 2004

Luce Center Label

Consuelo Jiménez Underwood created Virgen de los Caminos (Virgin of the Roads) to reflect the struggles of Mexicans looking for opportunity in the United States. In the center of the quilt, she embroidered the Virgin of Guadalupe, to whom the travelers pray as they make the dangerous crossing. The barbed wire symbolizes the literal border between the two countries that separates insiders from outsiders, while the flowers at the corners refer to Mexican festivals and holidays. The word caution and the image of a running family appear throughout the background, but are stitched in nearly invisible white thread. Underwood added these details to suggest that undocumented immigrants are invisible in the eyes of United States citizens. (Yorba, Arte Latino, Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2001)


Allegory - civic - injustice

Figure - fragment - skeleton

Religion - New Testament - Mary

State of being - evil - imprisonment

decorative arts - fiber

Crafts - Fiber

fabric - cotton

fabric - silk

pencil - graphite