Celia Herrera Rodríguez (Xicana/O’dami) is a painter, performance and installation artist whose work reflects a full generation of dialogue with Chicano, Native American, Pre-Columbian, and Mexican thought.
Originally from Sacramento, Herrera received her B.A. in Art & Ethnic Studies from CSU-Sacramento and a M.F.A. in Painting from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In 1987, she went on to study Art History, Theory and Criticism at the Art Institute of Chicago. In her five-year tenure in Chicago, she exhibited extensively and became involved in installation and performance art. In the mid-1990s she returned to California, where she made Oakland her home. She is a Senior Adjunct Professor in Diversity Studies at California College of the Arts, where she has taught Chicana/o and Mexican Modernist Art since 2005. She also teaches MeXicana/o Art History and Practice in the Chicano Studies Program at UC-Berkeley, since 2000. She has held appointments at Stanford University, UC Santa Cruz, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Her paintings, drawings and installation work have been exhibited nationally, including: The Triton Museum, Santa Clara; Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College of Chicago; CN Gorman Museum, UC-Davis; The DeSaisset Museum at Santa Clara University; The Institute of American Indian Art Museum in Santa Fe; The Oakland Museum of California; Tufts University Gallery (Medford, MA); The Mexican Museum of San Francisco; C.A.G.E. Gallery (Cincinnati); and, Name Gallery (Chicago).
She has also shown Internationally at the University of Cork (Ireland), The Centro Cultural Santo Domingo (Oaxaca, México), the Centro Colombo Americano (Medellin, Colombia) among others. Her work is permanently housed in a number of private and public collections, including the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum in Chicago, and the Institute of American Indian Art Museum of Santa Fe.
Since the mid-90s, Herrera has performed with many of her installations as stagings. In her performances, the cultural symbology of her paintings moves into the three-dimensional world of MeXicana and Indigenous history. In recent years, she has applied her vision as a conceptual artist to set and costume design, chiefly in collaboration with playwright, Cherrie Moraga. Herrera’s design work includes: “The Hungry Woman” (Stanford University); “La Semilla Caminante” (Intersection for the Arts, SF); “Digging Up the Dirt” (Breath of Fire Theater, Santa Ana); and “New Fire, To Put Things Right Again” (Brava Theater, SF). In 2011, a series of her line drawings were also published in Moraga’s collection of essays: “Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness, Writing 2000- 2010,” published by Duke University Press.