miércoles, 26 de marzo de 2014

Of menstruating Moon

     As to conclude March, celebrating Women's month, I want to write about 2 of my strongest Artworks so far, in my humble opinion. They are big Charcoal drawings I call ''Meditations.'' The first is called Mediation V ''Ephemeral Self'', done in the year 2005, my last year at MICA College in Baltimore, and the second is called Meditation XI ''Fenced Flight'', made in 2011 in Spain.
     ''Ephemeral Self'' was made during one of my most intence year of my life. It was my last senior year in college, it is a dirrect metaphor to all that I was living that year. This charcoal drawing is organized into 4 large pannels, and in each one of them is drawn a woman, a total 4 Women: 3 being of the Touareg tribe of Saharian region of West Africa, and the last being a portrait of myself. Each one is silently veiled, 2 with a blurry complexion of wonder and questions, and the other 2 with their head bowing to the ground with acceptance. My portrait is dirrectly gazing at the viewer. Within the veils, darkness domains, while the outside atmosphere around these 4 women is embalmed with the light of the different phases of the Moon.
    In this 4 to 5 meters drawing, occupying a whole wall, I wanted to bring the metaphors and unity that we all women worldwide share and hold for ourselves and within ourselves. There is an invisible unity that ties us all Women, and whichever it is, through suffering and darkness, our energy consume and releise burning love and  beautiful joy. I essentially wanted to say that we women are all part of each other. A reminder that we are not alone, that we are all parallel to each other. This drawing was yet the opposite to all that I had been living at that time, and yet it was a confort to all my trauma. The drawing reminded me that I was not alone, and yet at that time, I felt the loneliest ever.
    That year, I had essentially discovered that we women could be screw eachother: that a person containing the same feminine essence as me could use it against herself, and in a terrible chain, therefore hurt me. My last year, I broke down in tears, I hated the world, I no longer knew who I was. I made 'Ephemeral Self' asking the viewer: ''What are we women?'' ''Why are we capable to hurt each other that much?''  Who is allowed to screw? The difference between being the screwer and being the screwed? What does unite us as women? The phases of the moon? It is our menstruation? Is it our pacaty to give so much love to both men and women? Is it our veils? It is our hypocrezy? Is it our competition for survival? Our fucking solidarity? Our feminism per say? What is feminism?... etc and etc.
     That year, I stoped eating... I was by myself. I tried to take care of myself as best as I could. It was my Graduation year: my parents found me weak, confused. I was broken into peices. The concept of being a woman was shaken to me, and from then one, I have never been able to be as before. So many beautiful things of me desappeard that year. I was a total disaster, a terrible mess. My energy and goals have never been the same again. Since then, when  mentruation time comes, instead of being a celebration of being a woman, to feel this women solidarity such as the phases of the moon conveying our feminine unity, I often find myself irritated with and by myself, and by others, and I feel vulnerable and sensible to the tiniest smallest vibe. It has been a challenge for me to be syncronized to the phases of the moon, just like in my drawing.
    I understood since from then on, the difference between men and women. We women feel from the deepest of our guts, from the rawness, from our deepest running blood. And we suffer because of that. Nothing is taken lightly. Nothing from the surface. All fom our blood. Day by day. Night by night. I called the drawing ''Ephemeral Self'' because I felt like I was disappearing... that my little me, and little girl and the joy inside that little girl had been killed... I was disappearing, like any other women in the World. Like any desert nomad woman.... like these regugees passing te desert for the only goal of a better life, the right to... life... like any veil forcing silence. Disappearing like dust.
     Six years later, I created my eleventh Charcoal Meditation: ''Fenced Flight.'' ''Fenced Flight'' is different from ''Ephemeral Self.'' The same messages of what we are Women are still carried. The main difference, between the two Artpieces, is that this drawing was approached with less pain, less weighting baggage, with passed years in between. The gaze of the Ethiopian desert woman is still raising questions to the viewer. Questioning is infinate. Her skin is like arrid dunes of sand. Beauty in all my charcoal drawing women is unquestionable, but in Fenced Flight, this woman is giving with open heart her soft beauty, tender love, the beauty only an ancient soul can embalm you with comfort and well-being. Yes, she has an anciant soul: she has lived all the lives of every single woman on Earth.  She is alone. And yet, she is all of us. She is menstuating when I am menstruating and a billion other women on Earth are mentruating too, all the same time. She is making love and giving love when we are all making love and giving love. She is all the pain and hatred I felt that year of 2005. But she is not disappearing like ''Ephemeral Self,'' because she exists and lives in each one of us woman, even when we forget her. One woman is capable of holding the World. This is our power, our water, I believe.
    In 'Fenced Flight,' women are no longer bowing their head to the ground, with shame and obedience... fenced. They are looking, defying at the World, head up and free... flight.

    My Art has been the vehicule for my soul since I was five years old. I feel grateful, and I will never stop drawing and create, create from my gusts, my feelings, transfer my living into the paper. I aldo deeply feel grateful for the Aikido Art that I have been practicing since I came to Spain. Essentially, I met Javier with Aikido and I came to Spain for Javier and Aikido. My boyfriend and Aikido have been inseparable for me. I have been practicing for 5 years, and only now can I feel a bit more free. It has been a long process, but it has been crucial to my existence here, to my sanity. I can say that my body has changed, my feminine body and self. I am also very lucky to still be able to practice Iaido, and finally, I feel like I get a grip of these martial Arts. I feel a wholeness at times during my classes that is undescriptive... I believe that every women should daily practice a physical sport or Art, something that makes our body feel exquisite other than making love. It is so important, so crucial. One day, I will dedicate a post to these noble Arts, my views and experiences. I am attaching here, along the pictures of the Charcoal Meditations, with a picture of my Iaito.

martes, 25 de marzo de 2014

Allethea's Family

     I have finally finished  this week a drawing that my friend Allethea asked me a long time ago. I feel very happy to have been able to finally completed it.
     It was a deal that we made the two of us. I fell in love with one of her hand-crocheted top with shiny pallettes at its bottom, and I wanted it so bably that I proposed Allethea that I would make her a drawing as an exchange, for I wasn't earning much income yet at that time, and I wanted to have something from Allethea.
     I met Allethea during my very first year, here in Spain, at the Language School in Pamplona. She had in turn moved to Spain from her Brazilian homeland just a few months before I came. I remember very well because her daughter Maite was just a few months old, and she and her husband used to live in the 'Casco Viejo,' in the very old part of Pamplona, precicelly on 'Estafeta' street, the famous running of the bulls take place every summer.
     When we made this deal, it was at my opening of my second Art show, my second year in Spain, in the neighborhood of Sarriguren. I am attaching here a picture of the top I still have, and I am dreaming at this moment to wear it this summer again. Allethea is a beautiful crochet-clothe designer. She makes colorful knitted dresses, cardigans, sweater, mixing with current fashion elements, and she even makes clothes for children and babies. Please, if you are interrested, take the time to see her wonderful couture creations at www.alletheamattos.com
     In any case, meawhile I wasn't been able to accomplish the part of this deal, Allethea's family grew. I started the drawing figuring out how to draw Maite, Allethea's daughter, and trying to make her older. Maite, which is 'my beloved' in Basque language, is a beautiful little girl with light blondish curly hair, reminding of myself when I was a little girl as well. Although my friend Allethea wanted me to do te drawing with a particular minimal black and white style, I decided to make full colored portrait of her family, as to catch-up on my late due date. So, the whole drawing is made first by a light outline with a black drawing pen, then a light layer of watercolor on the skin parts, and finally an elaborated layer of colored dried pastels. The background is composed of free mixed-media gestures.
    It was my very first time only applying dried pastels on a drawing. I usually mix pastels and colored pencils. It was a challenge, and I really enjoyed the process, and knowing that pastels can make beautiful blur-effects as colored pencils made me really happy. It was also my very first time trying to make a portrait of a whole family!!! It was hard for me to squish and squeeze everyone in the paper frame, while keeping air breathing in the drawing. I think that at the end, it reads of a united and loved family, by the closeness of each one to the other. This feeling also makes me really happy and grateful.
     Families are so hard, even though wonderful.... I do not know anyone who does not have a family issue, and I am not going to start with this topic, because I could just write a whole ancyclopedia myself!!!! But, I am satisfied with this drawing!!! I am really hoping that I will be able to make more of this type of drawings. I owe one to Javier's family, for sure, and I am really hope I will be able to do one during the next couple of years. Hoping that one could keep me is mind for the future, please, if one is in need of a similar drawing/process as a gift to a friend or famil, or as a self-present as well...
     All the time I was making this drawing, I was thinking of my possible own one day... But again, it is so hard. Javier and I have still yet so many things to complete, to live for, place to go and see, and it is just not the right moment, even though at times I yearn so much to be holding and kiss my own child: I am already giving so much love to an un-existant humain being!!!
     Allethea and her husband Kinu wanted so badly a second baby, and it came to me Mikel, the Basque name for Michel. But Mikel is just not any child, he is a very special beautiful and handsome little boy. Till today, the doctors and specialists don't really know what he has. Allethea's family struggled so much, but I think that at the end, my humble opinion is that we all have a purpose in this life: to learn how to enjoy and love even in the most difficult and suffering conditions of life. It is a really hard knowledge and life process, and I know no one can speak off of something that another is living. But this is my mere perception. A child can naturally be very haapy, can love, and be loved, no matter what is around him or her.
     We all have different circumstances in our lives, and we all desire and wish for more, non-stoping, always for more and more... We all have dreams and hopes to accomplish, and this means that we are so alive, that we keep walking.... But no matter what, it is awesome at times when one stops, just for a second, to realize ''I feel good,'' ''I am good,'' ''right now, right here.'' Tomorrow is another story....
     For this portrait, I wish I could have done more, or done it before, for my friend Allethea... But the circumstances of my life as well...I too, I am living. I too, I have problems. I can choose to see what they have, and what I don't have in comparison... But I do think that all is relative, we are walking on a different timing, sometimes in parallel paths, but we are ultimatelly all unique to one another.
     This portrait of Allethea's family, at the very end, it is my desire for it to contain just my respect for her, as a Woman, as a Mother, as an Artist, and as for her Family. I am really hoping that she and her family can enjoy it now, finally. This is all I desire. I hope you too, through the following pictures as well.

martes, 18 de marzo de 2014

My 3 Dream Boxes

   This month, I am showing 3 small ''Dream Boxes'' at the Ormolú Gallery, among 7 other artists for the Women's Festival. Most of the people who went to see the show really enjoyed seeing my Dream Boxes, which makes me really happy... One more week and a half to go, and I am really forward to receive even more positive feedback.
   I called them Dream Boxes (wooden boxes fabricated on my demand by my Father-In-Law) because these days, I am more focussed of trying to deal with my imagery in three-dimensions. They are playful rememberences of my most occuring dreams. During the night, I often dream of the sea, of the water that used to calm me and make my body feel so good when I was a little girl. But often, my dreams are not that peaceful. But whether they are sweet dreams or nightmares, I often wake up in the morning with the most vivid images!!! My dreams are so full of strange adventures that I wake up at times tirred, knowing that I actually didn't rest for the non-stop activity of my brain.
   The boxes are for the viewer to enter in my beautiful, but perhaps mysterious dream worlds. In the first box, the 'blue' one, there are 4 layers of waves, one not knowing if invaded my them, or the waves actually receiding to the horizon. The pattern of swirls suggest the rhythm movements, as well the distance between each layer. There are little white dried flowers on the bottom as well as suspended in the air with three puffin birds between the lateral sides... In this Dream Box, it is a very beautiful day as if the most important event is about to de announced. The outside sides of the box is decorated with Japanese waves patterns in 'pointillism' style, leaving the viewer quite lost in all the details. It is my favourite box because it is all with blue tones, blue being my favourite color!!! But the box that doing it made me most satitisfied and pleasurable is the second one...
   The 2nd box, the 'white' one, was the most complicated and time consuming, because all the bottom is made out of a bed of rice collage, and the 4 panels are also with rice collage suggesting layers of white mountains. It is an arrid setting, with old lost and broken down houses in the mountains, a childhood memory that I still have of my earlier life. The floors are also covered with the same tiny bouquets of white flowers, suggesting perhaps blooming trees. The laterals of the box are made with a collage of tissues and napkins flying of with the white and purplish dust of dried pastels. At the very last moment, the day before bringing the Art pieces to the galerry, I decided to include little cut-outs drawings of 2 little girls playing, one with a sand bucket and the other, flying a suspended blue and red kyte, perhaps, again suggesting my happy playful times of my earliest childhood.
   The last box, the 'purple-dark' one is a bit complicated to explain, because I am not sure how it came to be. I was envisioning it in so many other manners, and at last, it came to be like this: darker than the other two. I call it the dark box, even though Javier included 2 lighting leds in each box, and they all have illumination from their insides. But the effect came to be much darker than I thought, when at the beginning I was planning to make a blue and white box, fusing the first two.  The layers are again of distant mountains, or valley this time, made out of a collage of dark sparkly cloth, with again the pattern of the swirling waves. The bottom between the layers are this time a bed of green moss and mint licken. The laterals are of the swirls in purple and graphite blue tones. So, again: water and mountains, and the other difference is that the second panel is of a lake with an abandoned tiny house on a lonely island--it is fall in this island though. On the contrary to the 2nd box that was of white, suggesting dryness, this dark box contains deep earthy tones.
   I am here attaching a few pictures of details of the boxes, as well as a few pictures of my friends who came to see my work at the Ormolú gallery. They are the Elvira sisters, adored by Javier and I!!! Also, the galleriests (the Maites) have let me bring of of my Charcoal Meditations ('Fenced Flight') which can be seen in a few of the pictures, which I will discuss in another near-future post...
   I hope to have left you with the yearning to actually want to see my ''Dream Boxes'' and be lost in their mystery, beauty and details!!!!

lunes, 10 de marzo de 2014

Festival Miradas de Mujeres

It has been an incredible week/weekend! I have been very busy finishing 3 little boxes for the Women's Show at the Ormolú Galery, here in Pamplona, which inaugurated last Thursday night! So, 3 big, huge ups for me: one is the galery in itself, the second is that it's Women's Month, just like I mentioned in my very first post. And the third, I will describe it in my next blogpost.
   Let me tell you about the Ormolú Gallery. It is one of the best in Pamplona, Navarra! When I came to live here, 5 years ago, I did not know anyone here, I didn't have any friends, it was the first time I had met Javier's family... and let alone the language!!! The only word I knew in Spanish was 'puta,' but this can be kept in secret.
   From the very first days here in Spain, I was the luckiest in meeting Javier's friend who had an uncle, Pedro Salaberri, who turned out to be a very famous and well-known artist in Navarra. When I met Pedro Salaberri, not only he loved and appreaciated my work, he immediatelly talked about me to the Maites or the Ormolú Gallery. The gallery is situated uptown Pamplona, it a relativelly busy but nice area of the city. I finally got to meet the 2 Maites (they are both named 'Maite,' which is 'my beloved' in Basque). They abosolutelly loved my work, just like Salaberri. And since then, they have been my 2 best 'Art advisors/dealer,' I don't really have a specific name for them but to me, they have always been my 2 Angels here in Pamplona. They talk well about me to people, they try best to sell as much of my art as possible, they recomend me to people and artists, they promote me... In brief, I wouldn't be anyone here in Pamplona, if it wasn't for these two beautiful, middle-aged, blond and very successful lovely women! I feel so grateful, I love them dearly and I owe them so much!!!
   So, this month, they chose me, including 6 other women artists (Gloria Santacruz, Conchita Bardají, Eva Armisen, Alicia Otegui, Susuna Zaldívar and Carmen Salgado)! How more lucky and grateful can I be? Being with Gloria, which I love her Art so much, because she has a childhood-style that often comunicates to my illustration style!!! Such tender and feminine work. Also with Conchita (in one of the following pictures with me), an absolute honor!!! I love her work so much... she has much more of an elegant, experimental style, and I feel so grateful to have one of her artworks in my home! (One day, I will reveal her painting which Javi and I have, because it is a very importnat piece in our lives!!!)
   One top of being in Ormolú this month, the gallery is participating in the Women's Festival ''Miradas de Mujeres,'' here in Navarra! I feel so so so proud, so so so happy!!! I am so amazed, and feel so grateful, to be recognized as a woman, no, as a Woman... it warms a little bit my heart, because I am not used to be seen, or even consider myself in this way! I am just my little me, and I forget sometimes I can get to be the big Me!!! I do not know much of the other women, I am obviously meeting them as well...
   But I feel so enchanted by two ladies in partical. One is Mireya Larumbe, a very tall and slim red-headed lady, who is an artist, which 3-4 years ago, I got to see her work. She is very famous here in Navarra, being one of the prized young artists. I was just able to meet her briefly, but I remembered her beautiful art--paintings of butterfly wings mingled in human bodies and faces.
   The other lady which I met in this festival in Marta Prieto. She has stuned me in her composure, a delicate small figure, and yet with the power of her intence black hair and red dress. The couple of times I have seen her, she has worn red or black. I really admire women who can wear these darked and intense colors-- to me, they transmit personal empowerness, just like my mother, something I do not dare to dress myself. Marta is small, but she stransmits such strong feminism: the way she walks, the way she speaks, I have noticed that everyone around her seems to be depending, or waiting on her. Plus, she smells the loveliest sweet perfume!!! She is 'Gestora Cultural,' which I am not sure how to translate this in English, other than she has been the one to organize this whole festival all over Navarra. She has convocated some women and made a promotional video for the Woman's Festival, in which I appear, which I am attaching here and in which you could have a good laugh. I sense this woman to be so sweet, so beautiful, and yet so powerful, so I will just leave it at that!
   I will also leave you the invitation of the Ormolú Exhibition in which I am participating (and which I will describe it to you in my next post). Also, a picture of the newspaper in which we, some of the Women appear...
   And of course, the video! I feel really grateful for been part of this Festival, and beein with these women... I only have one criticism to the whole experience, which I will allow to say it since this is my blog: there aren't any other Black American, african, or asian woman represented. There are many international wiem here in Navarra, although I do not know many myself.... But I have a Brazilian friend who has lived as many years here as I have. Her name is Allethea Mattos, and she is a beautiful crochet designer. I will see if next year, she could be included in the Festival. Because, she is also quite a Woman!!!...

martes, 4 de marzo de 2014


We just started the new month of March!!! It's a very special month because we celebrate women, we all women of the world, and really, it should be every single day!!! So I thought to write some words about my African Goddess: I would like to honor my Mother in my very first post, in this new month of women's celebration.
My Mother is all the colors in the rainbow for me, all the colors I use in my Art, all the colors I mix, all the colors I am searching for on my palette.
My Mother and I have woven different stories in our lives, in coming and going in wave motions, in huge sea waves, in white silvery foams, in very still and silent waters, in endless ocean horizons. We have been through so much, just like any daughter-mother relationship can take any woman through.
A couple of years ago, I tried to capture the esence of my Mother in a large charcoal drawing called ''Meditación XIII - Océanos de las Generaciones Perdidas'' (13th Meditation - Oceans of Lost Generations), and till today I can give to anyone the explanation of this work of art. In today's blog, I am only showing the section where my Mother appears, around her thirties, just like me today, a picture longtime taken by my father when they met in Burkina Faso I believe. The art piece a really big, including 3 drawings: my Mother, a child with tears in the middle, and the bottom part an African young girl. At the end of the Ormolú Exhibition back in 2012, the whole piece ended up being divided by 3, for 3 different persons who agreed to take each one drawing. It was usual from my part to accept this deal, as for originally, the whole peice made sense to me, and cutting each drawing ''destroyed' the artwork as a whole. But it is said that once the artist create a piece, one must let it fly freely to the world...
In the art piece as a whole, I wanted to stransmit the beauty of my Mother: I was having a deep desire to play around with her darkness, her black skin, her big black and curly hair, all the rich qualities I came to admire and accept about my Mother. She has always been a very strong and powerful woman to me, all throughout my life, and I think to ayone who would cross path with her. She was so powerful, with a huge intelectual capacity, that very often she would intimidate me, or any one else. She often acted way out to extremities, when she disliked or disaproved of something.
But on another deeper level, I wanted to transmit her softeness, her delicacy, her fierce feminity. She was so beautiful to me, to a larger extent that her anger or sometimes unfairness could be seen or be part of her beauty. My Mother has always been a very generous woman: she helped and gave so much to anyone who needed her attention. This quality of hers often drove her to betrayels and disappointments in her many relations or friendships, and because she had put so much love and care into whichever 'giving,' when things turned as it was unexpected for her, she would end 'forever.' My Mother often told me that she felt alone in this world, unable to trust anyone, and on some level, I believe that she has put so many goals to climb and achieve for herself, thinking and forced to do them alone, that she has been unabled to believe in the love and admiration that others truly feel for her.
In turn, the little boy in the middle of the artpiece as a whole is on some level a portrait of myself. It is a representation of hunger, or suffering, of time passing without really knowing what is the real need and fulfilment in my life. He is in tears, as often as I find myelf. I know the little boys is under a real pressure of suffering, his reality, which I am not, but he is a metaphore of the feelings I have many times when I relate myslef with my Mother. Feelings of being unable to be the person she wants me to be, and instead, staying in the same static and yet so complicated and viscious cycle of being a 'victim.' In the same line, I want to clear up that as the artist, I am not asking the audience to take me or the boy as a victim, instead, as the boy is composed of a straight forward deep gaze to the viewer, my eyes, my gaze, I am actually 'begging' the viewer to really ask and raise questions in him or herself.
More could be discussed about the whole drawing, but at least, I would like to share my thoughts about the last part of the artpiece as a whole. It is a portrait of a little oborigen girl from a place in Africa, which forgive me if I am unble to geograpgically specify. But in any case, as in general, this little girl to me represents the African continent, the African people, the deepest and oldest history, and the reason for this is basically because of the shape of her head. For me, it it the Evolucion of Human kind to some extremities. I deduct that she must come from a region near the Nile river, where it is said and believed that the beginning of the Human race began. The relation of this little girl to the art peice as a whole is again the same thread that my Mother carries. I have always felt that somehow my Mother carries an ancient soul, and I cannot demonstrate it, for it has always been a deep intuitive feeling inside of me. But at the same time, my Mother cares so much about the World, she involves herself so much politically and intelectually, that to me, it feels that her life is all about the Human race, about the others, defending others and especially the Africans and Black Americans. To me, she is the root, the African earth, struggling to protect, to cherich and love, facing and confronting the changes of the world. She thought I could be her or be like her, and on so many levels, she was unable to see that I was of a another generation. That I couldn't be of her generation, because I hadn't lived what she had lived, all through the storm of racism and sexism she rode against. I think that till the very end, she will want to delagate her world, her past world, her lost generation. I know there are so many issues still in this world, of racism, or sexism, violence, poverty, wars and all kinds of fuckedup ways of living, and I don't want to say that I have never been under pressure of any of these human conditions. Yes, we are all humans, and we all do good and bad, and we are all submitted to unfairness and iqualities. But 
I have been anabled to be like my Mother, to have lived her generation, and part of me has felt inferior and week, and has been so sorry and in urge for asking for forgiveness.
Obviously, there is so much more to explain and share, but still, in hopes of just raising questions at least. So, this is why, for this month, I only want to stay with the following image of my Mother, which just in the inside of her, she contains so many different worlds to me, a boxfull of life treasures-- it is amazing to me that with all that we have lived together, can be seen to me as part of my mother's beauty. 
I repeatedly open her box over and over again and many times, I cannot find the answers, and I am left with tears and so many different emotions, feeling embalmed with rays of warm love and many times as well, I open it and little blue butterflies fly hurriedly to my face and gently flutter my skin--this is how my Mother is, literally. But with time, I try to accept, that this is just IS, is for being a mother, or a daughter... being a Woman radiating love.
For my very first blogpost, I am hoping you have enjoyed my words, and I want to thank you for reading me, and dedicate me a little of your life time. And at the very least, if not enjoyed (for now it happens to me that I must translate my Spanigh mind into English, it used to be first the other way around).... maybe you have enjoyed seeing the beautiful charcoal drawing of my Mother... Many things I would do differently to the drawing today, but back then, this is the way I imagined on doing her.