Coachella 2022: Inspired by Rage Against the Machine, this couple created a guardian for the festival


She is the guardian of immigrants around the world, and she’s standing 30-feet-tall at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival wearing a horned mask and holding her baby in a shawl that’s draped across her as she watches over the main stage and all festival goers.

“La Guardiana,” or the guardian, is a sculpture created by husband-and-wife Ramon and Christian Cardenas, who work as an artistic duo named Los Dos.

“It’s about strength and protection, and love mainly,” Christian Cardenas said during a phone interview from El Paso, Texas a few weeks before the festival.

“I think it also shows solidarity in support of migrants and refugees, which in our currently political climate I think is a very powerful statement,” Ramon Cardenas added.

It’s the first time the El Paso couple will display their work at Coachella, and it all started with a poster.

The couple are muralists and street poster artists whose colorful work can be seen throughout the streets of El Paso. They create privately commissioned pieces and public art projects inspired by everyday people like street vendors, families and immigration and border issues.

Los Dos was a perfect fit for Rage Against the Machine, who commissioned the duo to create a poster featuring “La Guardiana” for the band’s planned reunion tour in 2020. And since Rage was scheduled to headline Coachella at the time, the work caught the eye of Coachella officials.

While the duo created the image for the band, it was also a perfect fit for the festival, Ramon Cardenas said.

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So “La Guardiana” went from a character on a poster to a towering sculpture and protector of refugees.

“La Guardiana” carries her baby in a rebozo, or shawl, around her back. She wears a black mask with horns that represent strength while her long enredo (skirt) is emblazoned with images that include immigrant crossing the border, some lay on top of  rail cars which many ride on top off during their dangerous journey to America.

“One side is the journey of refugees on the American and Mexican border and on the other side it shows a parallel journey of refugees arriving in Europe through the Mediterranean,” Christian Cardenas said.

When they started the project before the pandemic the couple thought their work would pair nicely with the Rage Against the Machine set at the festival.

“It would have been a really strong statement if Rage was still there, but the work is going to have to stand on its own, we still believe in the message,” she said.

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