Personnel Profile

Santa Barrazza, Professor

Santa Barrazza


A native of Kingsville, Texas, Santa Contreras Barraza is a contemporary Chicana/Tejana artist who is a Professor of Art at Texas A&M University at Kingsville. She formerly taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Penn State University at University Park. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1975 and her Master of Fine Arts in 1982 from the University of Texas at Austin. Her artwork has been widely exhibited in the United States, Mexico, Italy, Spain, and Germany. Her vita reflects a career replete with awards, appearances and lectures, exhibitions, and publications. Her artwork is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Texas Tech University, Mexican Museum in San Francisco, Del Mar College, Fondo del Sol Museum, South Texas Museum, Olin Museum at Bates College, the Hispanic/Latino Archives of the Tomas Ybarra Fausto Collection at the Smithsonian Institution at Washington DC, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, Center for Interdisciplinary Studies Research of the University of Bielefeld, Germany, and other collections and various art collectors.

Artist Statment

Santa Barraza (Karankawa/Chicana) paints bold representations of Nepantla, a mythic “Land Between.” The term was first used by Nahuatl-speaking people of Mexico in the 16th century to describe their situation vis-à-vis the Spanish colonizers in their midst. Her work depicts the historical, emotional, and spiritual land between Mexico and Texas, between the real and the celestial, and between present reality and the mythic world of the ancient Aztecs and Mayas. She says Nepantla could also represent the “in-between-ness” of Latinos like herself who are embracing their newfound Native American heritage and Indigenous ways. Over her career, Barraza has explored what it means to be a Chicana. Using a variety of media, she has embarked on an artistic journey full of family portraits, watercolor dream scenes, mixed media artist books, and murals that harken back to a pre-Columbian past. She proudly identifies as a Chicana, but just as proudly has traced her heritage to the 1700s and a woman ancestor named Cuca Giza, a Karankawa Indian from the region that was once part of Mexico but is now known as south Texas.

Contact Information

Dept. of Art, Communications, & Theatre
Speech Bldg 175, 903 W Engineering Ave
MSC 178, 700 University Blvd, Texas A&M University-Kingsville
Kingsville, Texas 78363-8202
voice: (361) 593 - 3041
fax: N/A
Personal Website: N/A

This page was last updated on: February 24, 2017