The Joy of Exile: In Three Acts
My current body of work, “The Joy of Exile: in three acts” is a continuing stream of exploration of the concept of literal and inner migrations. This is my MFA Thesis Collection created during my tenure at Boston University's College of Fine Arts.
In this body of work, I use words and images together in the exploration of my inner life. The installation of this work is largely paintings on canvas and paper– presented in such a way that paint extends beyond the boundaries of the canvas on to the wall. The work has lots of literary references; the poetry of Walter Benjamin (and Paul Klee) for example in "Angel of progress." I see the drawings on the wall as a Junot Diaz style fun with footnotes.
In addition, I've been lucky enough to count on the collaboration with a friend, poet Anthony Cody. His poem, "Llegando al Toldería" (after a painting of mine) is the anchor for my installation. The pieces are placed within stanzas of the poem. My installation is an allegorical- poem-comic-mural –– the play within words and images are the key to the experience. The installation is a three-part poem with a prologue (four parts total).
I use the corn kernel as a metaphor for the migrant. Donuts as a metaphor for experience. Debris as travel companions. Popcorn as the culmination of experience of human mobility. It's a bit challenging to speak about these works individually, I se them as chapters of a single piece, yet pieces in of themselves.
Throughout the process, I've sought to make peace with experiences, to understand some things. I've been lucky enough to do that.
My style varies– though my intent is pretty much uniform. I always intend to play. Play with various languages is integral to my practice and thought. The piece "The Transgression Machine" is facetious rendition of a blueprint. It's a depiction of the causes for migration and an introduction to my vocabulary. "Son" is a celebration of brokenness, a promise of healing, of acceptance. The piece "La Palabra y La Imagen: Heroes Gemelos /The Word and the Image: Hero Twins" is a celebration of the sisterhood between words and images. In the Mayan creation story, the Popol Vuh, two twin brothers die and resurrect and vanquish evil through cunning and sportsmanship. The two brothers are also artists, one is a poet, the other a painter. I depict them as part of an kinetic eruption of energy. Lastly, the piece "Man’s Way to (Face the) Music" celebrates femininity. The quasi-cryptic, bi-lingual statement roughly states, "My mother taught me the man's way to face the music." In an abstract sense, it is a manifestation of gratitude to my mother and the spirit that guides me through the creative process. It is a feminine energy. I feel that it was a powerful creative force that drove her to raise my brothers and I in a generous and empowered fashion, though with limited means. It is this same spirit that drives my creative process. Many people feel that art-making is a male force, an aggressive stance. Visiting Artist to BU Oprhah Shemesh shared with me in a conversation that in her view, the creative spirit lies in our feminine energies. I would agree with this. Mothers, our mothers, my mother embody this generosity. This piece celebrates that generosity.
Anthony's poem ties the entire thing together in such an appropriate way, I couldn't be happier with the way that came out. It was the Mexican artist Diego Rivera who wrote, "an artist must be the conscience of his age." I share this view and would add that the artist can spur the inception of a critical conscience into the public imagination. If there was ever an epoch urgently in of need the rousing effect of conscience, and of a positive imagination for the future, it is this, our age of globalization.
I would like for people to now that the world is vastly bigger than what we think it is and that it’s generous enough to provide for all of us. I want people to know migration, human mobility is a beautiful thing. Everyone likes to travel. Sometimes it's a vacation, sometimes it's something hat life's circumstances force you to do. I'd love to expand this understanding, push for a greater empathy. My art is a celebration of all of the above. I'd like for people to laugh too.