Melissa Gamez Herrera

self portrait

Melissa Gamez Herrera is an interdisciplinary artist who works in photography, bookmaking, printmaking, and other multimedia practices. She is from San Antonio, TX and earned a BA in Art and Art History from Colgate University in 2014. She earned an MFA in Studio Art Photography from the University of North Texas in 2020. While at Colgate, Melissa decided to pursue art using photography as a medium through which she could speak on issues of identity, community, and justice. She does this through research of events related to violations of human rights and the way art can be used to interpret and create a pathway to collective healing. Melissa has participated in exhibitions throughout the state of Texas and was the winner of the Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas Fund Award, and was the Society of Photographic Education Portfolio Throwdown Winner in 2019. In 2023, her work is being exhibited in the Soy de Tejas exhibition at the Centro de Artes Gallery in San Antonio, curated by Rigo Luna. She is also featured in the Contemporary Art Month exhibition called Picking at Scabs in the Michael and Noémi Neidorff Art Gallery at Trinity University, curated by Gil Rocha.

Artist Statement of Work

Tell us about your work (style, approach, philosophy, subject and/or theme):

“Pues que le puedo decir?

Le doy gracias a Dios por vivir aqui 

y conocer este lugar.

No digo que es bonito.

Aqui es puro trabajar.”


“Well, what can I tell you?

I am thankful to God to live here

and to know this place.

I won’t say it’s a beautiful place.

All we do here is work.”


- Otilia Cristobal, A maquiladora worker from Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico.


The U.S.-Mexico borderlands is a place of constant manufacturing for the world’s products. Te Digo Que Lo Llevo en La Sangre (I'm telling you that I carry it in my blood) is a project where I traveled to Mexico (near the border) to meet women factory (maquiladora) workers in their homes, and to listen to and record their personal experiences as mothers, sisters, and active labor organizers. From this research I have made works on paper, photography, sculpture and video. Much of this work is directly related to their oral histories, but much of it is also my interpretation and relationship to labor. 

At the end of the work day, the Home (the house) is the place that the factory worker will come back to. In the Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard, he says of the home– “…if I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters daydreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace. Thought and experience are not the only things that sanction human values. The values that belong to daydreaming mark humanity in its depths.” In the home is where we must be able to find refuge. To be able to live and be as we are. This is something that we can feel as laborers across nations. The quantity of products factory workers in the borderland produce is not the center of who they are, but rather their humanity, their experience, and their hope.

Culturally Specific Art Category

Select Culturally Specific Art Category:: Latino/a Art, Ethnically/Culturally Specific Art

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