October 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
Aquí y Ahora en Directo. Mixed Media on Canvas: 55 in x 130 in, 139.7 cm x 330.2 cm, 2011.
The title of this piece is taken from a phrase that journalists use for talking about what is happening during some news or event. It is usually stated during popular sports events, and it always expresses intensity and strong emotions about “the right moment.” It is commonly said in South American countries when we are watching a football game. I am using this familiar yet passionate phrase to name my work, representing this in a narrative of sliding images that are telling something about a specific moment via simultaneous images, like different television channels playing at the same time. This idea represents carpe diem in our contemporaneous digital world, where images are passing by in front of us fast and at a same time. We are simultaneously living and enjoying the present moment.
AR-L: Your piece for the Diálogo 465: CARPE DIEM exhibition about living in the now, and I was hoping you would tell us more about your process, and the way in which you go about executing each piece with such precision.
RE: This piece is a extended narrative of images. I pretend to involve the viewer in my world of thoughts, images that are passing like stop motion movies, where the action is present in simultaneous ways. The precision of this and most of my work is based in my background with architecture. My creative approach is always preceded by an order of the space. Before I start to create images and colors, I create a main structure – a grid – where I compose images that are strips taken from photos and selected drawings, then I join these vertical strips with linear drawings, recreating an urbanist portrait of the images.
AR-L: What can you tell our readers about the relationship between your career of an artist and your experience as an immigrant?
RE: Living in New York City for a couple of years, you can feel there is a lot of stuff going on and great energy around you, not only in the big scene of the arts that exists, I’m also talking about the multicultural fact that you see everyday here. It is very stimulating and there is so much information that you can receive that sometimes I remind myself to focus on my principal goals and not pick around because it can be distractive. These years in the United States have changed and improved my artistic perspective and creativity with powerful and rich resources that I’ll be absorbing for a long time.
AR-L: Would you like to tell us something about your other current projects, and are there any upcoming exhibitions you want to tell us about?
RE: I’m currently invited to participate in the 3rd Bronx Biennale 2012 , during November, where I’m presenting an installation using recycled light boxes. This is an interesting project where I’m using another media, expanding the reuse of material in a tridimensional way. I’m also participating in the upcoming PINTA Art Fair, the most important Latin American art fair in New York.
AR-L: Since another of the “carpe diem” themes is the idea of the harvest: is there a favorite cooking recipe you’d like to share with us?
RE: Here is one of my favorite recipes that I will share with all of us:
Ceviche de Mariscos (Seafood Ceviche):
- 1 cup fresh shrimps
- 2 cup fresh tuna
- 2 cup fresh calamari
- 1 glass lemon/lime juice
- 2 red onions
- 1 red or green pepper (or both!)
- 2 avocados
- 1 apple
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Hot sauce (optional)
- Chop the tuna fish into small squares and put into the bowl or container you have prepared for this. A round pyrex bowl is perfect.
- Add the onions, the green and red peppers (you could also use yellow), the apple and the avocados.
- Add the hot sauce (picante) to taste. I particularly, do not use hot sauce but I know that many people enjoy it.
- Cover everything well with the lime juice. It should cover the fish by at least 1/4″
- Cover the bowl.
- Leave on the kitchen counter overnight, or until the fish is the color white. 6-8 hours is about right.
- The fish will have cooked in the lime juice. If it is too watery, just pour some of the lime juice out.
- Refrigerate until cold. When it is cold, it is ready to be served. It will last for about a week.
October 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
As life is fragile, so is our planet. Each day we have the opportunity to reconcile with Nature. We can stop destroying our Earth’s ecosystems, contaminating its waters and ravaging its resources through mining and deforestation, just as a devastating disease destroys a human body. We can awaken and understand the impact we are having on Nature. If not, we will be resigned to experience the ultimate power of Nature over humanity- Nature’s Revenge. In the spirit of conserving, preserving and respecting Nature, this work is constructed of only recycled materials. On our Earth, there is enough recycled material to create a new world!
October 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
Where shall we go? Where death does not exist?
Moreover, shall I continue my life’s lament?
Straighten your heart:
Here, none will live forever
Even the princes to death have come,
The funerary statues are burned.
October 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
A young Xilonen wearing a ceremonial head dress blows the conch shell. She is calling forth both the living and the dead as well as the divine and cosmic energies. The time is now. The four directions have been opened. This image is of my daughter’s first ceremony has she prepares for her coming of age initiation.
On September 22, 2012, my daughter celebrated her 13th birthday with a Xilonen ceremony. She prepared herself for over a year by doing sweat lodges, learning the Danza, participating in ceremony, and growing corn.
The Xilonen is dedicated to young women to celebrate coming of age. This rite of passage ceremony seeks to empower young women to become contributing members to our society and at the same time to help them be proud of who they are and how important they are in the community. They are taught respect and service for others.
The ceremony of Xilonen or Chicomecoatl has its roots in pre-Columbian indigenous culture. Xilonen is a Nahuatl word, the language of the Aztecs, and means young tender ears of maíz (corn). The purpose of this ceremony was to assure a return of the waters and good corn harvest in the coming months. Those more fortunate had the duty to share what they had with the less fortunate. These ceremonies were characterized by the sharing of food and the giving of gifts for 8 days.
In modern practice, the focus has been the continuance of traditions and teachings with the children of our community. We hope to “plant” the seeds of understanding about our indigenous heritage with the hope that they will “grow” in this knowledge in the future. The corn is the most important plant of the Americas so it is the focus of the ceremony. It is symbolic of our relationship to this land and is a symbol of our people.
Jane Madrigal: In Her Own Words
I am a wounded healer, Xicana artist and muralist, radical woman warrior, and revolutionary earth mother. My work is a reflection of my values, which embodies a deep reverence for indigenous culture, the power of women, and a vision of a better future for the next generations.
I began painting in my early twenties after my first trip to Mexico. Inspired by the story of my ancestors, I began painting indigenous imagery and religious icons as a way for me to embrace my culture, educate my community about our people’s struggles, and honor our history which would otherwise be lost.
My community work began in Austin in the 90’s, where I became a pioneer in the graffiti art movement receiving national recognition for my work with at-risk youth through my graffiti art program, SKAM Productions. I continue to work with youth through my program Art in Action a graffiti arts program created to provide at-risk youth with positive means of self- expression through the production of murals. Check out this link: “Transformation: Taggers forgo spray cans for artist’s brush“
I was mentored by the late Marsha Gomez and other curanderas and received extensive training in art of traditional plants and healing at Alma de Mujer Center for Social Change. I continue to work with and grow my own medicinal plants and produce a line of herbal remedies under the name Home Girl Healing. I teach workshops designed to be a comprehensive overview of traditional plants and healing with an emphasis on Indigenous knowledge. Throughout history, herbs and sacred plants have had an important place in the medicine of our people. The preparation of these medicines were carried on, developed and evolved over thousands of centuries. These medicines were part of our ceremonies for a good way of life and handed down to us from generation to generation. I teach the basic philosophy of Curanderismo, the proper use of herbs and flowers for medicinal purpose, and the proper technique to make tinctures, salves, essential oils, cough syrups, and limpias.
The origins of ancestor worship can be traced back to indigenous peoples cultures whose Earth based religion and spirituality was rooted in honoring the spirit of the land (Mother Earth) and ancestors (The Dead/Los Muertos). It is founded on the belief that the dead live on and are able to influence the lives of later generations. Our dead ancestors have special powers to influence the events in our life and control our well-being. Protection of the family is one of their main functions. They are intermediaries between the living and the divine powers, and can communicate through dreams and by possession.
The traditional Mexican holiday El Día de los Muertos (celebrated on November 2nd) honors the dead (ancestors) through the gathering of family and friends to pray for and remember those who have passed on to the spirit world. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private home altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts.
I teach Honoring Our Ancestors workshops to discuss the traditions of ancestor veneration and the importance in cultivating family loyalty and continuity of the family lineage. Participants receive the cultural knowledge and understanding of Dia de los Muertos and the historical connection to the ancestors. They receive information on basic home altar building requirements used in creating traditional altars for the dead.
The workshop includes a sugar skull painting session where participants decorate their own personal sugar skull in remembrance of a departed love one as well as participate in building a community altar. Check out this link for more information about this work.
Current Projects and Exhibits
Journey to the Underworld and Other Forbidden Places Before the End of Time. This solo exhibit the opens November 30, 2012 and run thru Jan. 2013 at Bihl Haus Arts in San Antonio, Texas.
Journey to the Underworld and Other Forbidden Places Before the End of Time is a cosmic journey through time and collective consciousness. The installation will feature a temple to Coyolxauhqui, goddess of the moon, as well as other sacred indigenous feminine deities.
Honoring the ancient belief that held sacred the feminine principle and equated it with spiritual power and reverence, this is a journey through time where women are goddess and warriors instead of wives or whores.
Remembering the ancestors and acknowledging those who have paved the way for us to be here today as we prepare for transform. Women will be the salvation of the world.
The future is female. We will heal and transform through our journey to the underworld.
Dia de los Muertos: Visual Artists Honor Musicians. South Texas Popular Culture Center ~ 1017 E Mulberry, San Antonio, Texas, 78209
Local visual artists have created altars to remember and honor deceased musicians and others who have contributed to the South Texas Sound. I created an altar for Selena. She was a revolutionary Tejana singer who broke through gender, racial, and language barriers. She was named the “top Latin artist of the ’90s” and “Best-selling Latin artist of the decade” all before her death at age 23.
Selena’s music and legacy continues to shape and influence the lives across multiple generations of Tejanos. She is a cultural icon and musical legend of my generation.
Revolutionary Women Woodcuts. Scheduled to open Tuesday, March 12, 2013 and run through the month of June @Promega Corporation.
In January 2012, Dr. A. E. Gomez, historian and professor at Arizona State University approached me with the idea of creating woodcut prints of revolutionary women in history. As a historian, he felt there was a need to recognize the revolutionary contributions that women have made throughout history. Dr. Gomez is a collector of my work and thought as a female artist and cultural arts educator whose creations contain strong female imagery, I would be the ideal person to create this significant body of work.
I had never created a woodcut but was intrigued by the idea of producing this radical art. I applied for technical assistance from the City of San Antonio’s Office of Cultural Affairs and was awarded a $1,000 grant to travel to Arizona to work with Native American Master Printer Damian Charette at his Tortuga Studios and Press in Mesa, AZ. I did a week long intensive workshop and produced the first five woodcuts in this series of work. While working with Damain, I was offered the opportunity to exhibit my woodcuts during women’s history month in Madison, Wisconsin.
The woodcut or xylograph is the oldest technique used for old master prints. It was a favorite printmaking medium during and after the revolution in Mexico, particularly in the Taller de Gráfica Popular, when members from South America, the Caribbean and the United States, used art as a method to educate the public about culture and politics. This legacy continued during the Chicano/a Movement of the 1960s and 70s.
This exhibition, created through these historic and under-represented technologies of reproduction, offers a different genealogy linking politics and art through a project emphasizing the collective struggles, survival and solidarity of women who organized for transformative social change. Combining the woodcut techniques with popular education to promote women’s history and the importance of memory for both inspiration and survival, this project emphasizes how women have always been on the front lines of social movement organizing.
Through the creation and documentation of the stories of our sisters in their struggles we become conscious of their legacies, create an occasion to honor their organizing as lifework, and pass on the record of learning and technique to the next generation. This exhibition will feature the first 25 Revolutionary Women woodcuts created in this series of prints focusing on revolutionary women who lived during the 19th and 20th centuries. Check out this link for this project.
A Poem By The Artist…
Witches are the Guardians of the Village (for Doña Enriqueta)
It was the year 2010, when things started to come full circle.
Things started to connect or reconnect to those things that were left undone from another time now gone, the past I think it’s called.
The doors that got shut on unfinished projects and missions.
The path that became blocked by susto or some other kind of emotional issue that laid buried deep within my existence, my energy.
Those little traumas, or maybe big traumas, that happened and kept me frozen in time for that moment of shock.
The worst enemy.
I remember that moment of fright
and liberate myself from the susto.
Death always plays a role on some level.
Transformation is the key.
The ancestors are here to help me.
But I must learn to listen to universe.
To understand it’s laws.
God, or the divine soul I am looking for is me.
We are all part of that energy that comes from the most profound place in the universe.
So we must offer up respect because that’s what’s going to cure us.
And conduct ourselves with consciousness.
After all, we are a garden of flowers
Nothing is impossible and everything is sacred
I remember grandmother.
I hug you and suddenly I am grounded again.
I am rooted firmly in the earth.
I remember and the susto slowly releases itself
My kidneys no longer hurt from holding on to the fear for so many years
I remember grandmother
That long ago women played an important role in society.
That mother nature is everything for us.
And that we must nourish ourselves with love.
After all, how much are we really worth?
I remember grandmother
And I will offer up a prayer of gratitude every morning and every night
And I will use the color purple to heal myself and others
I will wear red for protection and keep my circle of energy closed
And I will be the guardian of the village.
October 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
Above all, I am determined to create tangible changes in others through my art and activism. However, I attempt to accomplish everything but encounter my own limitations. I aim to seize the day but I often backfire. My art is a reflection of the sentiments that occur during this clash. Therefore, my art is the product of struggle. Moreover, my vision is skewed due to diplopia, an eye problem that causes me to distinguish my surroundings as double. Because my artwork demonstrates my flaws, diplopia serves as a starting point for radical distortions of my corporeal and metaphysical self.
October 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
The Number Field series challenges our understanding of numbers as well as the traditional formats in which they are encountered. By printing multiple passes of collaged numbers one on top of each other, figures that once had a very specific meaning and relevance are stripped of this value and re-imagined. The artist, who is also a CPA, spent hours hand plucking numbers from actual financial documents and gathering them into intricate patchwork collages. Each number is greater than 75,000, taken from personal financial statements, investment results, business proposals, projections, net worth, stock holdings, etc. The amounts, size of numbers, and multi-layered saturation cause the eye to constantly change focus in an attempt to understand, inducing an over-stimulating effect. What do these numbers mean? Is there a hidden formula?
The tedious process becomes a meditative practice removing all original significance from the numbers and allowing for their reinterpretation by the viewer. The intricate multicolor patchwork initially appears pleasant, but once approached closely, intensifies as the numbers begin to take meaning through the viewer’s relationship to them. Are they deaths? Births? Unaccounted for or evaporated disaster recovery funds? Gallons of oil consumed or spilled? Bailout funds? People? Numbers define everything around us, but in this case, the viewer’s relationship to these figures creates new meaning. The series serves as a mirror into our own lives, where numbers become a pixilation of everything that makes up the world around us – the NOW ever present, alive and in flux.
October 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
Seize the day. For me every day and every moment has meaning, regardless. It is all part of the continuous cycle of life, where art has been a constant journey. The moment is to celebrate 40 years of my artistic career – or “art making” – and all that art has been in my life. My art is the voice I use to express all things in me and around me: family, community, the world. Today, the feeling of divide I have comes from living in one place, my children afar and my blood family even farther away. The work Split depicts just that.
AR-L: Would you please tell us about the residencies you’ve been involved in during the past months? I know you were doing something with the children of military families and would like to learn more about this work.
DN: I was invited by the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia to be a guest artist at Fort Dix Elementary School to work with children of military and deployed parents. As the daughter of an Admiral in the Brazilian Navy and sister of a high commander officer as well I had a lot in common with these children to say the least. The main idea of the project was for the students to write and illustrate letters to deployed parents or dear friends inspired by wartime letters and documents from the museum’s collection. After examining several documents, letters and photos during a field trip to Philadelphia, a letter was chosen with the input of their teachers as a point of departure. The letter from Alexander Biddle to his children dated November 11, 1862 was our inspiration.
Our project is moving right along and the young artists created mixed media prints that highlight their narratives. These two components will be used in an edited children’s book. The goal of this project, funded by the Pew Center, is to bridge the gap between past and present, support the military community as well as to help the wider public understand the experience of soldiers and their families, both past and present. It has been an incredible experience .
AR-L: Your piece for the Diálogo 365: CARPE DIEM exhibition is titled “Split” and I know that like so many, you divide your time between your residence and other places around the world in order to be with your loved ones. What can you tell our readers about the relationship, if you perceive any, between your career of an artist and your experience as an immigrant?
DN: This is something that I will never know. Where would I be, as an artist, had I not left my native country. I know that art is a part of who I am. That the art I create has a profound innate connection to my roots. It feels, still to this date, strange that I carry a “label” as an artist in this country where I have lived for the past 34 years. In comparison, looking back at the history of art in Brazil, where so many artists immigrated to, I have never heard a “label” related to their provenance. They all were embraced and were and are Brazilian artists. This is an interesting thing. I think I am blessed in a way for being able to live and experience both cultures. Although it is very, very hard on me. The Portuguese language has the word SAUDADE that is impossible to translate. Perhaps “longing + missing” put together? This feeling becomes a constant part of my life. I think this is exactly what prompted me to create “Split”. Division of equally feelings or divided reality??? Who knows… Life goes on…
AR-L: Would you like to tell us something about your current projects as an art educator?
DN: The first pilot children’s program I worked at was in 1972. I still love to work with children. In a way I feel that the work of a “teaching artist” is part of your creative life. It gives you the platform to come up with new ideas, new experiments and new projects. The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Appel Farm Arts & Music Center and Woodbury Art in the Street Summer Program give me this great opportunity: to share with children what I know.
AR-L: Are there any current and/or upcoming projects you want to tell us about?
DN: Yes, there is a very exciting project coming up. I just finished the art making part of it. It is a site specific piece for the Museu da Praia in Brazil. “LIFE: 40 years of art making” celebrates my professional artistic career. My concept for this exhibition was to create a scroll of continuous drawing in black Indian ink on rice paper symbolizing a time line. Intersecting the flow of the drawing I will place digital color prints representing different stages of my art. The scroll will be mounted directly on the wall in a prolonged line flowing through the rooms. I am also showing a set of (10) 11”x 17” photographs of interventions with printed 3D block letters LIFE done at the Eastern Shore, MD. For more Information on Museu da Praia check out www.thebeachmuseum.com.br
I also participated in an amazing Arts Festival this past month. The first Annual Woodbury Fall Arts Festival, where I was one of the featured artists. Check out their blog @ www.fallARTSfest.com
AR-L: Since another of the “carpe diem” themes is the idea of the harvest: is there a favorite Fall recipe you’d like to share with us?
DN: Oh! Boy! You got me here. In case you didn’t know I LOVE to cook and create my own dishes. I am also known as a great recycler of leftovers, just ask my kids… What is hard for me some times is to give precise measurements but I will try my best. This is a new Doris’ recipe for chili. Actually I made it today. It sounded like a good hurricane comfort food. Here it goes:
Doris’ White Chili
- 2 deboned chicken breasts
- 1 large onion
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- ½ cup chopped up parsley
- 2 small cans of white beans
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- ½ large cauliflower
- Chile verde or jalapeño peppers (to taste)
- Salt to taste
Prep: Cut the chicken in very small pieces almost like ground meet. Onions also cut in small pieces. Boil the cauliflower until soft and make a puree, using a blender, set aside. Chop up the peppers. (remember the “hotness” of the chili is up to you) I like medium. I like to blend the peppers when preparing the cauliflower. It gets really mixed together and fine.
Cooking: In a deep pan put the oil, “sautee” the onion. Add the chicken and let it cook a bit until it is all white. Add the broth and remaining ingredients. Cook it to a boil then turn heat to very low and let all simmer for about 30 minutes or so. We ate it with good corn chips on the side. It serves 4, if you are not greedy.