The international, scholarly, peer-reviewed, open access journal Humanities has published an article from Dr. Lesley A. Wolff, providing a decolonial feminist analysis of Latinx artist and University of Texas at Austin Assistant Professor Scherezade García-Vazquez’s portable mural, Blame it on the bean: the power of Coffee (2019), created for and installed in the café and library of The People’s Forum, a “movement incubator for working class and marginalized communities” and “collective action” in the heart of Manhattan.
"This artwork depicts three allegorical women convening over cups of coffee, one of which has precariously overflowed onto a miniaturized portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte, whose undoing was said to have been facilitated by his excessive indulgence in coffee and other commodities of empire," writes Wolff in the abstract. "Historically, coffee production was bound to imperial plantocracies, enslavement, and patriarchal networks; today, the industry remains a continued site of oppression and erasure for female workers around the globe. By placing this mural in conversation with the portable material economies of the Caribbean, the gendered history of coffee production and consumption, and the history of female representation in art, this article argues that the mural dismantles heteropatriarchal conventions precisely by invoking café culture—the very mode of social performance that García’s work critiques. In so doing, García subverts the problematically gendered and racialized heritage of coffee with a matriarchal Afrolatinidad that, in the artist’s words, 'colonizes the colonizer.'"