Xylophone_in_the_Field

Xylophone in the Field

Story/Video posted March 29, 2021 in Best of CommMedia by Xiaohua Li.

Loading...

 

Marissa Baez is a second-year art graduate student at Penn State’s school of visual arts. Her work centers around the exploration of her indigenous identity—the Mestizo, by searching for what has been lost with the Mestizo due to colonization. In her art-making process this semester, she created her own xylophone using medals in pre-Columbian Aztec designs to speak for her identity.

Marissa Baez is a sculpture MFA in Penn State's School of Visual Arts. Her research centers around the exploration of her indigenous identity—the Mestizo, by searching for what has been lost with the Mestizo due to colonization. 

Inspired by her musician grandfather and being a guitarist herself, Marissa sees music just as another way to intertwining her artistic work. This semester, she created a xylophone using medal shapes inspired by pre-Columbian Aztec designs to speak for her identity.


"I don't like to box myself and keep myself using one material, so working with the sound kind of helps me branch out into something else," Marissa said.


Grew up in Texas, Marissa used to identify her only as Mexican because a lot of histories pertaining to Mexican Americans were not discussed.
When she started to learn about her ancestry and indigenous background, she found out many Mexican Americans weren't aware that they are mix and have Native Americans in them.

"Not everyone knows that side of their history. They just think, oh, I'm just Mexican, that's it. But that's not. The term Mexican is not a race," Marissa said. She created a character to reference an Aztec deity when performing her xylophone and envisioned the character as taking back something and fearless.


Marissa said working with her xylophone took a lot of focus and concentration, "Because if I'm not careful, if I hit the wrong thing, my sound changes."

A most recent live art performance from Marissa is available on Instagram. She also uploads videos on Youtube, and many of her other artworks can be found on her website.