Natalie Olvera

About Natalie

Natalie Olvera is a local Latina artist, who was born and raised in Denver, CO. Both of her parents are immigrants from Mexico. She is a graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver with a BA in Art and a minor in Chicano/a Studies. She has worked with painting, photography, and installation. Natalie became close with her family, but she questioned the customs of her family home, which lead her to explore machismo and other aspects of her cultural identity.  She continues to create art as a way to express herself but as well hopes for people to relate to the ideas she expresses and enjoy her art.

About Natalie's Research

Machismo is defined as a strong or exaggerated sense of manliness; an assumptive attitude that virility, courage, strength, and entitlement to dominate are attributes of masculinity. Growing up in a machismo household, I began to question if machismo was normal and if that is the way it will always be in a Latino household. After learning more about machismo from my Chicano/a Studies courses, I have discovered that machismo oppresses both boys and girls throughout their lifetimes. It is a culture that many claim doesn’t happen in the present, but from my personal experiences from myself and others, machismo is still around.

My art has been focused on machismo culture. Machismo is demonstrated between gender roles, sexual relationships, and sexual identity. I decided to create art that breaks these machismo barriers. In this series, Breaking Machismo Barriers, Latino men in my life have volunteered to get their nails painted, an act typically thought of as feminine. These men were given the freedom to pick any color of nail polish: some were overwhelmed by the color choices. I photographed them, capturing their personalities or their daily activities as expressed through their hands. This project is a small step to breaking machismo barriers, but one I think is successful.

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