Este Sanchez Shapeshifted

Estela Sanchez

Coachilicue AKA Estela Sanchez, performance and installation from 2017

January 21 – February 21, 2020

Closing reception and performance on Friday, February 21st from 8-10pm

Este Sánchez brings together the personas of Coachilicue and Shapeshifter, connected via the root chakra and nourished by the overarching persona of Coachilicue. The root chakra governs the qualities of safety, home, family, sexuality, primal instinct, one’s relationship to their ancestors; and is associated with the earth element and the color red. Coachilicue, a representation of intergalactic plant consciousness here on earth, is honored as a deity and synthesizes the artist’s origins in the Coachella Valley with the Nahuatl earth-goddx Coatlicue. Coachilicue serves as the embodiment of their postcolonial cosmology formation.

Various indigenous groups throughout Abya Yala (North and South America) believe in Nahuales, shapeshifters that are human beings who have the power to shift into animal forms. From this Sánchez sculpts a persona they named Shapeshifter, a concept known in Nahuatl as hu heuheucoyotl and inspired by the trickster Coyote archetype. Shapeshifter becomes a humorous representation of primal instinct that advocates non-binary and/or genderqueer-ness as honorable forms of transformation. Coachilicue serves as the protective force or patron saint of Shapeshifter within Sánchez’s cosmology.

Coachilicue and Shapeshifter engage in dance, performance, and play inserting themselves back into the landscape of their youth. It is this desert region, The Coachella Valley, beyond Palm Springs and associated with agricultural production, that brought Sánchez’s grandparents from Mexico to labor the land. The region serves as the backdrop where Coachilicue and Shapeshifter literally and figuratively dig, explore, and excavate Sánchez’s personal relationship to home, their root chakra, and their familial/ancestral relationship to working the land. Sánchez transforms their family connection to the land from one based on labor-out-of-necessity to that of play-out-of-necessity to render and assert their visibility.

Tricia Avant and Este Sánchez