June 2, 2000
My artwork addresses personal, political and spiritual issues ranging from
the unmasking of cultural stereotypes to the expression of anguish associated
with multi-generational struggles with substance abuse and addiction. My earliest
works were often quite literal and representational, as seen in the piece
Willie Jasper Darden that pays tribute to a victim of injustice. Later pieces,
which honor particular family members, employ a greater degree of abstraction
and symbolic language, such as hojas wrapped as prayer bundles, pre-Columbian
motifs and images from lotería cards. The most abstract and gestural
series to date are those associated with Sundance and sweatlodge ceremonies.
In these pieces I aim to convey the sense of tranquility and spiritual nourishment
that I feel through participation in these sacred rituals. For example, in
the piece Dancers Past and Present there are a number of red bars placed against
a gold multi-layered background. The red bars can represent both the prayer
sticks used in the Sundance ceremony and the dancers. The lower area represents
the Sundance ancestors who have passed over. This piece expresses a sense
of peaceful order and rhythm found amidst the daily turmoil of life.
My work ranges in scale from intimate small prints to large mixed-media altar
installations and collaboration done with other artists and communities. Making
at is an integral part of my life and involvement with my community. Working
with at-risk youth and passing on to them the joys and freedom
found through self-expression brings my life full circle. As we reclaim our
histories and identities we can find the inner strength and well of compassion
to lead us to a more just and peaceful world.
Knowledge and Wisdom, 1992
Prayers, Knowledge and Wisdom is an altar dedicate to my children Xiomara
and Naiche. Set on a golden rectangle emerging from a dark fractured ground
are a series of prayer bundles rising above images representing a darker side
of life. This piece is a physical prayer for the protection and guidance of
Xiomara and Naiche. May their paths in life lead them to knowledge and wisdom.
Afterworld Path symbolizes the souls journey upon death of the physical
form. It is inspired by the Pre-Columbian belief that life in this world
is a dream from which we awaken after death. Small horizontal bars intersect
a series of vertical bars representing the nine levels through which the
soul is said to travel on its way to the true life. Sparks
of gold and the vivid red of the bars represent the celebratory beginning
of this true life. The dark hues of the background symbolize
the dream life with its seemingly real yet translucent layers
of memories and experiences.