I have the opportunity to spend three weeks in Svalbard, Norway for an artistic residency on board a barkentine sailboat as a resident in the Arctic Circle Residency. My work explores the spirit of human exploration and the history of Arctic expeditions.You can imagine how being immersed in that same extreme environment will impact the work that I create, expanding upon and evolving my thesis work into something richer, informed by personal experience. Svalbard was a point of embarkation for many arctic expeditions and is steeped with that history; visiting the archipelago that launched so many of these historical explorations is an immense opportunity for my work.
If you appreciate art, travel, Scandinavia, and budding artists – or if you still believe in the intrepid human spirit, consider supporting this project. You can learn more about my plans for the residency at Hatchfund, or check out my blog, Svalbard By Sea, where you can follow my preparations, my experience on the residency, and the work I make when I return.
Papi was always a devout Catholic. Church every single Sunday.
A few years ago Papi saw a lady in the middle of the street that had just gotten hit by a car… He saw my mother and frantically cried in the middle of the street making every bargain and promise to God to be good, stop his womanizing ways, if He spared Mami.
“It’s not Milagros! It’s not your wife!” his friend yelled. This was his sign.. and shortly thereafter he converted…
As it happens, because you never know what is awaiting you around the corner…you run into a free drawing class at The Metropolitan Museum. You grab a pencil and start doing something… you don’t even remember when was the last time you did it…and then you feel connected, you found yourself a bit more free from yourself
For mami, the states was “la ultima coca cola en el desierto” (the last coca-cola in the desert). The best thing in the world. Her intentions were to come to the states and study medicine, but after a few months she realized not knowing the English language meant being stuck with the worst jobs. “Ni en la bodega se hablaba Español.” You wouldn’t hear Spanish, not even in the grocery stores.
She began the first 20 years in the states working in sewing factories, but once all those jobs were outsourced the next step was to become a home health aid.
Her morning routine always requires the same ritual. She gets up AT LEAST 4 hours before she needs to be at work. Then she leaves at least an hour and a half before her twelve hour shift. Even if it only takes her 30 minutes to get there, she still leaves way too early.
20 years after starting her new job, my mom is a 64 year old home health aid still working 12 hour shifts, considering if she should push her retirement in order to help make ends meet.
My brother, Alejandro, is younger than me. He was 19 when he moved out from our home in Mexico City to Ithaca NY to study. My little sister, Ofelia, was then 10. He soon realized that he would leave Ofelia as a little girl and come back, four years later, to find a little lady.
Now is my turn to move to New York and I’m leaving Ofelia at the age of 13.
Even when I no longer lived with my parents back in Mexico City, I did my best to visit their home in the suburbs each weekend. In one of this visits it stroke me: I do not know when it happened but Ofelia is now a 5.15ft tall pre-teen with own opinions and tastes. I was 12 when she was born and she has always been a kid to me.
I can hardly describe what I feel when I think how different she will be three years from now when I go back.