Como Se Dice?

Como Se Dice?, meaning How Do I Say That? explores navigation of the world as a first generation child of immigrants of colour through the interconnectedness of desire for cultural connectivity melded with cultural displacement. Navigation of the western world as a visible minority, but also a person born and raised in a western country is complicated in that you are perpetually navigating two worlds, you’re different, and it’s obvious. The complicated part is feeling like I am not only different here, with my darker skin and dark curly hair, but things like my lack of a Spanish accent when speaking Spanish, and lack of cultural connectivity will always set me aside within Hispanic circles.  

The third space coined by Homi K Bhabha refers to hybrid cultural perspectives associated with both globalization and colonialism. As my work inhabits the third space, I have been continually exploring what it means to be ethnically coded existing within western spaces, and the navigation of these spaces as a person of colour. Como Se Dice? is a collection of various series of works created between 2020 to 2021. Included are one piece from the collage series Peluda, three photos from Arregla Tus Cejas, and finally the sculptural installation Contra. 

Peluda has been an ongoing project surrounding celebration of ethnic body hair. Losing my hair has led me to create a large body of work over the last 2 years, and all work falling under the title Peluda which is a Spanish word meaning hairy.  This series of works contains multiple inkjet prints of various parts of my body including my legs, underarms and arms with hundreds of hairs individually glued onto them. Currently featured is the most recent, and largest installment in this series, a 6’x3’4” image of my leg printed on tyvek, and has over 400 individual human hairs attached. 

 Arregla Tus Cejas is a recent photographic endeavour, in which human hair was skillfully attached to my face by makeup artist Orly Estrin using pros-aide. Arregla Tus Cejas translates to Fix Your Eyebrows which is something which I have consistently heard through my adolescence having thick ethnic eyebrows, my mother having waxed them for me for the first time when I was 13 years old. These inkjet prints are 26”x25”, and are a juxtaposition between a seriousness and sadness in my face, yet playful a girlishness of the small bows, and butterfly clips in my eyebrows. 

Working with my bricks for 3 years, Contra is an installation and performance archive, making up what I have been referring to as balancing acts. Añoranza, which is on all of the bricks is a Spanish word meaning longing or yearning and at the beginning of this project they were a reflection on the US Mexico border crisis, but since then, they have become an exploration of loss and desire through a lens of cultural connectivity and my lack thereof. This exploration of the third space inhabited by children of immigrants has become a key focus within my practice. My balancing acts have been small performative gestures captured through stop motion animation, in which I have been contemplating the give and take which exists trying to remain neutral within two words you do not belong to.