Distance from family, home, and from community has prompted a further study into the histories that determine my identity. From the perspective of a first-generation Mexican-Guatemalan maker, my work describes what it means to preserve and mourn customs obscured by borders. The use of specific culturally significant motifs, replicated in clay, portray archival memory of both personal and recorded Latinx history. In honoring the moments that are fundamental to my cultural identity, I can process the limits of my access to the traditions practiced by my family for generations. The use of a specific and limited color palette references the use of red clay in pre-Columbian tradition as well as the influence “white-washing” has on my identity.
My intent to make visual art is sustained by my urgency to represent the cyclical nature of the labor the Latinx people experience in their pursuits of prosperity. Researching the patterns of history informs my understanding of personal and familial narrative. Both of my parents immigrated to the United States. They experienced laborious jobs beginning in childhood and continue to work in occupations often tailored as the only viable options for immigrants. The opportunity to create in clay presents the privilege to recognize the path my parents took and other immigrants continue to take.