I Am Not Your Virgin / No Soy Tu Virgen
Lupita Chavez and Zeke Cook
95 % recycled materials, including items from family and friends no longer with us.
Created as a response to ongoing debates surrounding reproductive rights, this piece was built to spotlight the way racism, both systemic and outright, have unjustly affected the black, indigenous, and Chicanx populations through the continuous loss of rights and acts of violence stemming from the predominantly white male population. Our Virgen is not an icon of purity, obedience, and silence. She is as human and angry and proud as us.
Contrary to popular belief, we are not a four-legged entity known as Zeke and Lupita. We’re eight-legged because we now have Max.
Individually, there’s Zeke Cook, a retired mechanical engineer who now gets to concentrate on his work as a metal artist. You may have seen the flame shooting Bat Bike, the white Rose Bike (now well known in the All Soul’s Procession), his lawn ornament Safety Third (a huge red safety pin), the amazing Two Suns sculpture, or most recently, his copper heart wall hangings. A Tucsonan for almost 40 years after years of moving around, he is now truly home. His art started 13 years ago with 10 years of Burning Man as inspiration. A self-taught welder and metal artist, his pieces are often a mix of science and activism and fire.
Lupita was born in Bisbee, lived the tiny town life in a mining camp called Silverbell until the mine closed in 1982. Other than brief stints back in Bisbe and as a truck driver in the Army in Germany, and as the pinto bean in the bowl of white rice that was Tennessee, Tucson has been her true home. Her day job is with the Pima County Public Library, but living with an artist has brought creating art back into her life, usually sketching until Zeke put a plasma cutter in her hands. She’s now his student and partner. She also emcees a monthly adult spelling bee at Tap & Bottle, and is still waiting to be discovered. Someone called her a community activist once, but she prefers community advocate.
All eight legs are now firmly rooted in their home in South Tucson.