In the Spirit of Itzpaplotl, Venceremos

Ruby Chacón

This exhibit highlights feminine leadership exerted by Chicana editors of the newspaper “Venceremos,” established at the University of Utah in 1993. The series of photographs and paintings portray the first Chicana editor and her predecessors, whose strength and perseverance carried the paper from 2008 to present, and after its brief hiatus from 2001-2007. We define their driving force through the reclaiming of Itzpapalotl. Itzpapalotl Spirit as we have named this feminine energy “is grounded in an indigenous worldview that reveres women as fierce protectors of the domains that produce life, ideas, and knowledge.” (Aleman and Olivo) Archived issues can be found:

Through a collaborative practice this exhibit intertwines paintings by Ruby Chacón, photographs by Flor Olivo, and feminist scholarly research by Dr. Sonya Alemán and Flor Olivo. We are committed to work that isn’t in competition with each other, rather in conversation. Process is the most meaningful part when working collaboratively, we work in this way to push back on standard processes that academic and “higher”art spaces often regulate. We engage in producing quality work, not just for our own benefit but for the greater good of our intersecting communities.

Our intention is to ensure that forms of storytelling and art making produce life-affirming realizations and continue to uplift our communities. By seeking to create spaces of belonging, shaped by shared histories of marginality and resistance, the images tell a story of conviction. In our own ancestry we continue to retell herstories of feminine leadership, specifically Chicana Feminist leadership, that have enabled spaces of creativity and that have birthed ideas, art and knowledge amongst systems of oppression.

Ruby Chacón co founded Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts (MICA), the first gallery of it’s kind in Utah. She has been published in books, magazines, calendars, as well as covers for academic books. Her most recent book cover is: “Transforming Educational Pathways for Chicano/a Students” by authors Dolores Delgado Bernal and Enrique Aleman, Teachers College Press. Her numerous awards include: Utah Governor’s Mansion Award for visual arts, Salt Lake City Mayor’s Award for Visual Arts, Humanitarian Award, Distinguished Alumni, and Utah’s 15 most influential artists. Chacón moved to Sacramento in 2013. Her Sacramento public art projects include: Cesar Chavez Intermediate outdoor mural, Utility box designs in the Alkalai Flats and Meadowview neighborhoods, and upcoming: a design for the light rail and community mural on 2nd Avenue in Oak Park. Contact: or

Flor Olivo is a local SLC photographer and communication professional/instructor. She has documented hundreds of events in Salt Lake City, taken photographs used for local political campaigns, marketing, and news organizations. She has created several independent short films for local community organizations and higher-ed institutions. Her images and short films have been published independently but also through the Venceremos Newspaper, West View Community Newspaper, and El Periodico de Utah for which she has served as a reporter, photographer and later Managing Editor and/or Editor-in-Chief. Flor also teaches courses at the U of U Gender Studies Department and at Salt Lake Community College. Her most recent research publication: “Guided by the Itzpapalotl Spirit: Chicana Editors practice a form of spiritual activism” by Aleman and Olivo was accepted by the Frontiers scholarly journal. Contact: or

1. “Movimiento”
2. “Chavela”
3. “Breaking Barriers, Creating Educational Pathways” design for mural. In collaboration with American River students. Chacón designed and led project.
4. “Resistencia United” mural in collaboration with Brown Issues. Chacón designed and co-led with Nanibah Chacón.
and others:
5. The next two are, “Multigenerational women Danzantes”
6. “Herstory”
7. “Student Life: Still We Rise”
8. “When Spiders Unite they can Take down a Lion” Chalk art (Zapatista quote)
9. “First Women Miners in Helper, Utah”
10 “Self as La Llorona”
11. “Hope and Determination” mural
12. “Grandpa and his Goat”
13. “Chicano Panzon”
14. “Los Chacones: Still We Rise”