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You People: A Graphic Look at Hispanic Stereotypes

Maria Matos (CFA’04,’07) and other master’s students display work in CFA shows

Click the slide show above to hear Maria Matos (CFA’04,’07) describe her work.

Maria Matos had never heard the phrase “you people” until she came from Puerto Rico to Boston as a BU freshman seven years ago — and she vividly recalls the first time she heard someone use it. A few years into her studies, Matos (CFA’04,’07) realized that it had become part of her own vocabulary too.

“I’ve caught myself going up to someone that cleans the streets,” she says, “and automatically speaking Spanish to them because I assume they’re Hispanic.”

It’s something, she says, she’s not proud of — something, she says, that makes her feel horrible. So when she had to choose a thesis project at the end of her graphic design master’s program, she decided to focus on Hispanic stereotypes in American culture.

“I wanted to find a way to express how I felt about stereotypes,” Matos says. “I wanted something blunt and in-your-face.”

She designed a series of six posters, each exploring a different stereotype or her interpretation of a stereotype and called her project “You People.”

Matos and the other MFA candidates at the College of Fine Arts have had their master’s projects displayed at three of Boston University’s art galleries since April; all the shows close this weekend. The MFA Painting Exhibition is at the 808 Gallery, 808 Commonwealth Ave.; the MFA Graphic Design Exhibition is at the BU Art Gallery at the Stone Gallery, 855 Commonwealth Ave.; and the MFA/BFA Art Education Exhibition is at the Commonwealth Gallery, 855 Commonwealth Ave.

Click on the slide show above to hear Matos describe her work.

Nicole Laskowski can be reached at nicolel@bu.edu