Inspired by the Chicana feminist artist Alma López’s Our Lady (1999), this essay explores Chicana cultural and psychic investments in representations of the Virgin of Guadalupe. As an image of the suffering mother, the Virgin of Guadalupe is omnipresent in Mexican-American visual culture. Her image has been refigured by several generations of Chicana feminist artists, including Alma López. Chicana feminist reclaiming of the Virgin, however, has been fraught with controversy. Chicana feminist cultural work—such as the art of Alma López, performances by Selena Quintanilla, and writings by Sandra Cisneros and John Rechy—expand the queer and Chicana identifications and desires, and contest narrow, patriarchal nationalisms. By deploying critical race psychoanalysis and semiotics, we can unpack the libidinal investments in the brown female body, as seen in both in popular investments in protecting the Catholic version of the Virgin of Guadalupe and Chicana feminist reinterpretations.

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