Oakland native Rachel-Anne Palacios is a self-taught, multicultural artist who far exceeds the multidimensional horizons of her creativity. Each of her colorful art, craft and accessory pieces exudes a gentle yet provocative reflection of who she is—a woman full of light, joy, gratitude and grace. There’s an ancient yet contemporary boldness to her work—deep, rich colors celebrating the Spirit of Mexico, harmoniously clashing and crashing to embrace the mysteries of life, death and rebirth. Having made art since childhood, today Rachel still expresses with a childlike wonder and innocence—even though her pieces reflect the deep and humble respect she has for culture, religion, traditional values, the elders, and the cycle of life and death. Sometimes subtle, sometimes startling, each work holds a piece of her personal story, and a piece of her Soul.
“Palacios has made a name for herself in the Bay Area art world. A self-taught, multicultural artist her pieces reflect the respect she has for culture, religion, traditional values, elders, and the cycle of life and death. Palacios grew up amongst Oakland’s cultural diversity in a household headed by her mother and grandmother. Her grandmother, Nana Rose, was a mentor, teacher, coach, and friend.
“I hope to continue creating a positive focal point for our community by heightening respect for cultural awareness and our elders,” said Palacios. “By providing an alternative learning environment, I believe that we can learn about each other’s culture and reconnect with our own. While doing this we can re-establish family values, create unity and come together in harmony.”
Palacios is part of the Oakland Artisan Marketplace and sells her work at the Jack London Square farmer’s market on Sundays. Her booth, called Devika’s Palacio (Little Goddess’s Palace), is decorated with multicolored Mexican blankets and ornate fabrics and mats. Offerings include handcrafted necklaces, earrings, bracelets, decoupaged and embellished light-switch covers, picture frames, magnets, belt buckles, and nichos (shrines or spirit houses).
Much of Palacios’ work pays homage to the dead. She is sought-out as an artist and teacher of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)—a national Mexican holiday celebrated on Nov. 2. Her interest in this holiday grew from her personal experiences. At an early age, one of her classmates died. Then in high school. a close friend, Sal Martinez ’93, was killed.
In her search of healing, Palacios researched a variety of cultural beliefs about death. Dia de los Muertos helped her to find that healing path. And in 2004 and 2005, Palacios was selected to be the lead artist for the Oakland Museum’s annual Dia de los Muertos exhibition.
In addition to her artwork, she was a panelist for the Oakland Cultural Arts Funding Program in 2003 and 2004. Rachel also provides support for the City of Oakland’s Cultural Funding Program during their panel process, is an active member of the Dia de los Muertos Committee at the Oakland Museum, and works as the exhibit guide coordinator for the annual Dia de Los Muertos exhibition. Most recently, she was invited to join the Norther California Women’s Caucus for Art and will be a co-chair for the exhibitions committee.”
Rachel-Anne Palacios has always been fascinated by the multiculturalism of growing up in Oakland and that has had a big influences on who she is today. Watching danza groups open for festivals and ceremonies motivated her to seek out a group where she could be an active member in dancing and serving her community. She joined In Xochitil in Cuicatl in the summer of 2008 and has enjoyed learning about the sacred dances of the Aztecs over the past two years. Rachel-Anne is of Mexican, Peruvian and El Salvadorean descent. Being born in the U.S. has given her a serious motivation to reconnect with her ancestral roots through dance, art and food and learn about other cultures in the process.
traditional mendhi, modern henna body art
mixed media multi-cultural art
Follow Rachel-Anne Palacios on her Facebook page, rachel-anne palacios/devika’s palacio multi-cultural folk