A small woman in the bottom right climbs a ladder with the top resting on a much larger woman's face

“Camino de vuelta” (2022), oil on linen, 47 6/25 × 35 43/100 × 49 inches framed. All images courtesy of Proyectos Monclova, © Hila Palafox, shared with permission

“A woman’s braid, for me, has a very powerful meaning,” says Hilda Palafox. “It symbolizes the fact of connecting, building, recognizing, changing, and strengthening. And I consider the act of braiding as something very intimate, very personal, and universal at the same time.”

Women convening, considering the size and shape of their forms, or engaging in solitary pursuits are common in Palafox’s works: one figure climbs a ladder sprouting new plant life, others precariously balance bowls on their limbs, and another bends over toward her toes, a table bound to her back with bright red rope.

Primarily working in oil paint on large-scale canvases, the Mexico City-based artist imagines a matriarchal world in which women are free to explore the inner reaches of their psyches and are stronger together. Their long, substantial limbs, large hands, and supple curves are repositories for Palafox’s interests.  “I have always thought of the body as a vessel through which we experience the world and emotions and through which we express ourselves and manifest life,” she shares. “I seek to convey certain concerns that travel from a very personal place to a point of universal connection.”

Influenced by her background in graphic design, Palafox’s textured paintings are intuitive and created stroke by stroke, echoing the act of braiding hair strand by strand. “That is very important to me, and that is also why I like simple, clean compositions with some hints of symbolism, where the body language of these beings are the main character and where a door can also be opened for the viewer to finish building the narrative,” she says.

Palafox is represented by Proyectos Monclova, and you can find more of her works on both canvas and walls on Instagram.


Two women stand back to back their brads intertwining

“Aquí y ahora” (2022), oil on linen, 65.43 x 49.72 x 1.57 inches framed

A figure wearing an orange shirt climbs a ladder with small twigs sprouting from the rungs

“¿A dónde llegará?” (2022), oil on linen, 49.72 x 37.87 x 1.57 inches framed

A woman tips a bowl off her head on the left and on the right a woman precariously balances a bowl on her knee

Left: “Cuestión de tiempo II,” oil on linen, 47.24 x 39.37 inches. Right: “Cuestión de tiempo III,” oil on linen, 47.36 x 39.37 x .98 inches

A woman sits on a brown stool with her back to the viewer. She grasps her long braid with her right hand

“Portal II” (2022), oil on linen, 47 1/4 × 35 3/8 inches. Image courtesy of Hashimoto Contemporary

A woman wearing a white tank top and blue pants bends over toward her toes with a table bound by red cord to her back

“Quizas, un día” (2022), oil on linen, 65.55 x 49.8 x 1.77 inches framed

A woman is seated on the floor wearing a white shirt and blue pants and peering down at a tiny chair at the bottom right corner

“Un deseo más al fuego” (2022), oil on linen, 65.55 x 49.8 x 1.77 inches framed

A woman wearing orange pants and a white tank top crouches over her chair to grasp her shins. A small doorway is visible between her legs behind her

“En aquel breve momento” (2022), oil on linen, 64.96 x 49.21 x 1.61 inches framed

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