Las Tres Marías

Copied Judith F. Baca, Las Tres Marías, 1976, colored pencil on paper mounted on panel with upholstery backing and mirror, overall: 68 1450 142 14 in. (173.4127.65.7 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase made possible by William T. Evans, 1998.162A-C, © 1976, Judith F. Baca

Artwork Details

Las Tres Marías
overall: 68 1450 142 14 in. (173.4127.65.7 cm.)
© 1976, Judith F. Baca
Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by William T. Evans
Mediums Description
colored pencil on paper mounted on panel with upholstery backing and mirror
  • Portrait female — unidentified — Maria
  • Portrait female — unidentified — full length
Object Number

Artwork Description

Las Tres Marías recalls a dressing mirror, something used to examine one's appearance and perhaps try on new identities through dress and posture. Facing it, you see yourself flanked by two archetypes of urban Chicana counterculture: on the left, a contemporary chola of the 1970s, when this work was made, and on the right, a pachuca of the 1940s or 1950s.

Judith Baca created Las Tres Marías for an exhibition of Chicana artists at the Woman's Building, a predominantly white, feminist cultural space in Los Angeles. The androgynously dressed chola portrays a member of the Tiny Locas, one of the youth gangs with whom Baca worked on public murals. The cigarette-smoking pachuca was based on a photograph of Baca herself, donning the persona of one of the tough girls she both admired and feared growing up in South Central Los Angeles.

Las Tres Marías
invites the questions: Who are you in relation to these figures? Do you identify with them, fear them, desire them?