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Onyx Montes - Tumultuous 2020

In the two session interview, Onyx Montes shares her early life in Mexico, her eventual move at seventeen years old to the United States, and her experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic. During the first interview session, Montes details her childhood in Mazatlán, Sinaloa. Montes also details her solo move at fourteen years old to Mérida, Yucatán. In Mérida, Montes worked to continue her education at a prestigious high school during the day and performing arts school in the evenings. At seventeen, Montes moved to Seattle, Washington, to finish high school, where she graduated with honors. She then attended University of Washington Seattle, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts. Montes concludes the first session with discussions of her career trajectory, her move to Chicago, Illinois, and the graduate program she completed in 2021.  

The second interview sessions opens with Montes detailing her experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic. She outlines her initial experiences with the lockdown, as well as her work and school's pandemic responses. She spent the first portion of lockdown in Cabo, Baja California, to support her mother while continuing to work, complete an internship, and attend classes remotely. Montes details her graduation in May of 2021 and how graduation and her thesis defense were impacted by pandemic restrictions. The second session concludes with Montes describing her mother's hospitalization from COVID-19 and the caregiving required upon her release in the summer of 2021. 

Interview Links

Feature Excerpt 1

Montes describes her initial experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Feature Excerpt 2

Montes details how she coped with her mother being in the hospital with COVID-19.

Abstract

Interview Session 1 (Audio)

Interview Session 2 (Audio)


Photos

Caption: Onyx Montes, as a young child, stands in a sparkly dress at her third birthday party.

When: January 1992

Where: Mazatlán, Sinaloa

Ownership: Narrator’s photo

Caption: At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Montes flew to Cabo, Baja California, to be with her mom during the uncertain times. The plane Montes took to Cabo was almost entirely empty, as pictured.

When: March 2020

Where: Chicago, Illinois

Ownership: Narrator’s photo

Caption: Montes sits next to her mom, Lupita Ramirez, at the International Airport of San Jose del Cabo.

When: May of 2020

Where: San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

Ownership: Narrator’s photo

Caption: Montes enjoys the beautiful weather by having a picnic in Hyde Park, on the south side of Chicago.

When: Summer 2020

Where: Hyde Park Neighborhood, Chicago, Illinois

Ownership: Narrator’s photo

Caption: Montes has always found self-expression through her artistic fashion sense. Here she poses in the grocery store during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When: Summer 2020

Where: Cermak Grocery Store, Chicago, Illinois

Ownership: Narrator’s photo

Caption: Montes poses with a group of her friends as they walk through Chicago, Illinois, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When: Summer 2020

Where: Lakeview Neighborhood, Chicago, Illinois

Ownership: Narrator’s photo

Caption: Montes takes a photo of herself in the bathroom of the Museum of Contemporary Art before she was laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She described the panic attack she was having at the time the photo was being taken and her desire to remain in the bathroom, away from people.

When: Summer 2020

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, Illinois

Ownership: Narrator’s photo

Caption: Montes adjusts her graduation cap as she prepares to graduate with her master’s in Museum and Exhibition Studies. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Montes’ graduation was held online.

When: May 2021

Where: Chicago, Illinois

Ownership: Narrator’s photo

Caption: Montes waits outside the hospital with flowers as her mom is discharged. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Montes was not allowed to be with her mom as she battled COVID-19 and was hospitalized.

When: June of 2021

Where: Cabo, Baja California, Mexico

Ownership: Narrator’s photo



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