DE CURAR UNA HERIDA, DE ENFRENTAR UN ANIMAL
(Of healing a wound, of confronting an animal)
Ellen José Art Award
One of the ways in which I experience and understand my Venezuelan identity is through the connection I hold with my family. Despite our physical distance, it is through conversations, anecdotes, and the sharing of memories that I have built an understanding of my Venezolanidad, as a member of the diaspora living in Australia.
I find it difficult to summarise the extreme devastation that has occurred in my home country over the past twenty years. I guess finding maneras (ways) to maintain this conversation is a form of resistance; one particularly invested in the methodical iteration of infinite dialogues or lived experiences. I’m exploring what it means to make work that is collaborative, by incorporating my family members as a way of telling our collective stories. This has led to a process of translating words into visuals, visuals into poetry, poetry into resistance, and resistance into energy transmitted and shared.
de curar una herida / de enfrentar un animal
(of healing a wound / of confronting an animal)
The title of this work is drawn from words my tía Briceida used to describe her mother, my abuela Nelba. A woman capable of anything: of healing a wound; of confronting an animal.
This work draws from WhatsApp conversations that took place over the last three months between my abuela Ana and her two sisters, Briceida and Sobeida, scenes captured on an iPhone from our day-to-day phone calls, and snapshots of long-gone times from their childhoods in Chivacoa, the small town of 60,000 in the Yaracuy state known for its mystic rituals in the Sorte Mountain venerating the goddess Maria Lionza.
I have been looking for significance in every moment, as a way to continue redefining our querencia (sense of strength). Why do these moments hold so much significance? An easy answer would be to dwell on their sentimentality, but I assure you there’s something more – a form of wisdom, passed down generationally, worthy of circulation. Somehow these slithers of text, thoughts, and anecdotes, haphazard in their meaning, allow me and my family to retain an aspect of our cotidianidad (everydayness). We may be geographically apart, but our spiritual connection remains intact.