Virgen de los Caminos

Media - 1996.77 - SAAM-1996.77_1 - 12709
Copied Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, Virgen de los Caminos, 1994, embroidered and quilted cotton and silk with graphite, 5836 in. (147.391.4 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase, 1996.77

Artwork Details

Virgen de los Caminos
Not on view
5836 in. (147.391.4 cm.)
Credit Line
Museum purchase
Mediums Description
embroidered and quilted cotton and silk with graphite
  • Figure — fragment — skeleton
  • Religion — New Testament — Mary
Object Number

Artwork Description

Consuelo Jimenez 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)

Luce Object 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



Media - 2019.15 - SAAM-2019.15_1 - 137377
Subversive, Skilled, Sublime: Fiber Art by Women
May 31, 2024January 5, 2025
The artists in Subversive, Skilled, Sublime: Fiber Art by Women mastered and subverted the everyday materials of cotton, felt, and wool to create deeply personal artworks.