About the Artist and Her Work

My professional career as a commercial photographer began in the mid 90s and during this period I also began showing my fine artwork as a multimedia artist and photographer at local, national and international museums and galleries. After earning my M.F.A. degree in Photography and Multimedia from Claremont Graduate University, I immediately started teaching courses in Photography, Multimedia Studies and Art for various community colleges in Los Angeles and Riverside County.

In 2007, I retired from the University of California, Riverside as the Director for the UCR/Communities for Virtual Research where my responsibilities included overseeing the implementation of technology training centers and programs designed to improve the quality of living for residents in the Colonias of the Coachella Valley. It is my hope, that I will once again have the distinct pleasure to work alongside my collegues, and researchers at the University to explore new territories in documenting life in and about the greater Inland Empire. Today, I continue with my teaching career and I actively pursue my interests as an exhibiting artist.

An integral aspect that is common in my art involves integrating technology and diverse artistic practices to create reflections of the past and to explore new understandings of the present. My artistic vision is inspired by my desire to push the boundaries that exist between politics and art. I enjoy integrating traditional and non-traditional artistic practices (photography, computer art, music, poetry, short stories and video) because they serve as catalysts of memory that allow me to conjure up a variety of social and cultural contexts. In fact, many of the images I create examine a variety of contemporary themes based on: the complexities of cultural identity; assimilation; gender roles; sexuality; religion; and the fear of becoming disenfranchised from one's cultural roots. In my web-based artworks, my ultimate goals include: creating an awareness that can advocate for social change; inspiring a need to promote cultural sensitivity; and engaging the viewer in global dialogues that can address social/political concerns in an art context.

I strongly believe that it is through my work, as a documentary photographer and multimedia artist, that I am able to explore California stories in an effort to deconstruct the negative stereotypes often associated with the Mexican immigrant experience. By offering a 21st century, Mexican-American perspective, I believe I am further able to present positive reflections of today's Mexican, Mexican/American, Latino and Chicana(o) families with images and stories that can inspire a new hope for a better life.

“Sometimes I feel challenged as an individual born in the U.S. because I do not always feel completely American. This feeling has a direct impact on the images I create because it causes me to look inward to my own cultural base. In doing so I discover reasons for my life, such as why I have to create art.”

Jacalyn Lopez Garcia


Additional information about Jacalyn's work is available on her artist website www.artelunasol.com



About the Project

Life Cycles: Reflections of Change and A New Hope for Future Generations is a documentary project that employs the use of photographs and personal stories to examine the deep-rooted struggles and accomplishments of immigrant and migrant farm workers that lived or are still living in the Southeastern desert colonias of Coachella Valley, California. A major goal of this documentary series focuses also focuses on revealing how immigrant and migrant communities have represented long-neglected histories within the socio-economic narrative that has characterized California as “the land of opportunity.” Life Cycles specifically addresses a collection of personal stories based on the struggles and accomplishments of families, students and members of the growing colonias. It is further intended to critically reflect upon some the incredibly harsh living conditions they endured and the journey they embarked upon in hope of achieving a better life.

In it's entirety, this documentary project consists of a touring exhibition of 84 framed photographs and features a collection of short videos entitled "Cultural Crossings" and a multilayered, interactive website.


This project is made possible in part by a grant from the CALIFORNIA COUNCIL FOR THE HUMANITIES, and is part of its statewide California Stories Initiative. The Council is an independent non-profit organization and a state affiliate of the NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES.