AfterWar solo show

Last June 9th I had the opening of the solo show "AfterWar". I was impressed on how people was touched with the photographs and the video. I confirmed the power of an image for us, as humans. A photograph is this moment in time that becomes infinite. Life is made of tiny moments that we appreciate as a whole, integrated one into the other. But, when we capture only one! What is it saying to us? That special instant, does it really mean what we think? Does it have to be linked to the next moment? Or can it stand by itself?

As the heart of the children of the AfterWar was beating, they were, second by second,  living many emotions. At the same time, they were giving me these little instants of "glory" where their expressions were so rich that we can read them as a book. But wait, our reading depends on our own story, this reading is subjective to our background and it's understood through the feelings that the images awake in us.

During the show, I asked people what they thought about the photographs. Right away, they all seem inspired and the end result was amazing to me. Thank you so much for your support!

INFINITE UNKNOWN

A work of self portraits and writing that I cherish. It represents me well. I did it in 2014.Some understand its meaning and some not and that's alright.

People of Cazuca

While being at Cazuca, last year, working on the AfterWar project, my husband and I visited several homes. I introduce you Santiago's grandma, Santiago is one of the photographed children. His grandma is 90 y old, almost blind, almost deaf but still going out by herself! uff!!

Now I see

All of my works speak about my life story and the people that surrounds me. There's a work  called "Now I see" that is not shown in my portfolio website but that is very important to me. It was born from the most important episode of my life. One that came after some months of "a kind of hard depression". I came out of it suddenly, with no specific reason, one day in the library at the University of Montreal. After it, I could see the world with different eyes, I saw everything with beauty lenses that show me how gorgeous nature was. So, when I was faced at school with the idea of making landscape photographs, I didn't doubt it twice, I wanted to take pictures of naked winter trees alone in the field with someone staring at them as I do.

Along with the photographs I wrote this:

Now I see

There was a time I could not see, I was flying blind in the hands of nothingness. I thought I was going to die and now I know it but who cares a dime?  I tried to look for a place where to land but everything was too blurry for me to understand. Were my eyes born that way? Was it me who refused to see the display? 

One day during my life parade, I walked away from what I thought it was ok. I stumbled and lost my balance, my knees were injured and I had no strength to stand up again. I asked help and many came but in their blindness they could not see. Some would mock me, some would cry along with me while I was screaming in the midst of darkness, is it you the one who will do it for me?

Lost in my empty space without a place where to scape, the path was narrowed and my option, only this one: to open my eyes and see what the darkness mean. It lets me see the light as it exalts it day and night, there was a time I could not see, now my eyes notice beauty everywhere they wish to be, beauty in a dead tree, beauty in the sky, beauty in the mystery of life. 

Speaking about the life context of the children of "Afterwar"

In the series "afterwar", I photographed children coming from families internally displaced by violence. During the last 55 years, Colombia has held a civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people. Is it ending? I don't know, currently, it all seems fuzzy at the political Colombian milieu. 
The situation is that because of the poverty and inequality lived in Colombia, a lefty group called the guerrilla raised up in order to fight for the rights of people. However, they killed many who didn't conformed to their way of thinking. So that, another group raised up to fight them, they were called the Paramilitares and they were supposed to come from the landowners and the military. In spite of that, they were also killing all of those who didn't follow them or those who supported the guerrilla. This last group did the same thing, committing terrible atrocities against innocent people including children who in many cases were recruited forcibly. 
This happened mainly in the country side of Colombia, where people were less protected. They were farmers or peasants that scared for their safety left their homes in search of a safer place. Almost 7 million people were internally displaced from their homes. The safest places they found were the big cities, mainly Bogota, the capital of Colombia.
These families arrived usually with very little money, no place to live, no jobs, having left behind family members and all the life they had before. So that, many of them went to places that they could afford, including neighborhoods that were located in chanty towns. They would build their houses by their own hands with all kind of materials they found or were given by free or by little price. The place I went was a red zone, meaning a dangerous place to live. 
As you can imagine, they live under great poverty and often do not have enough to feed their own children, who by the way, are many! 
Now you can start to understand their life context.
The foundation I worked with, is called "Encuentro con la vida" which means "finding life". It was founded by an amazing woman who deeply cares about helping children to succeed in their lives. She has the collaboration of other women who are some children's mothers who cook for the children, besides making clothes to sell in order to raise money to buy food. 
The foundation feed the children at noon in weekdays as well as help them with homework. It has a great impact on the lives of these children who happened to be better nourished than many who are not in the program (only 80 places). For many of the kids, this is the only good food they have since often they only drink agua de panela (water with sugar) for dinner. 
The children were incredibly amazing. They were funny and very playful as I would expect of any child. They were normal children with different problems than our children. They seemed content and happy kids but I cannot deny the fact that they have passed through a lot and despite of their hard lives, they look so smiley!
 By the way, I learned that there was a Japan project there, bringing depressed, suicidal young Japanese people to recover their willing to live and it seems it was a good success. Isn't it amazing?
Those children gave me lessons of resilience and showed me their example as something that I could also follow during my life. I knew they were worthy and strong! I knew it! And this travel confirmed my expectations.
I want to show you with this work a little part of their souls. I don't expect you to deeply understand them or know them by only these photos but I think I succeeded by showing you their different expressions completing a general spectrum of their souls.
I hope you enjoy the series and increase your awareness of these children, not only because of their difficulties but by the example they also can set for your lives. 
 
 

When seen through those eyes

I have a theory that everything is beautiful when seen through the eyes of love… For some people it might sound corny but for me it’s just a reality. When I open my eyes and see from my soul and not from my banal physical eyes, when I find the special, the feeling, the unique… I find the beauty of everything through the sensations awaken in me….It’s difficult to explain…I’m someone that have different, somewhat peculiar feelings…some could call me a weirdo! But I have feelings that nobody have told me they recognize in them…Maybe many people feel the same and don’t tell…just like me…
In spite of that, some times I cannot see things as beautiful…I can’t explain why neither…but It makes me more sensitive to people who doesn’t see stuff as I do… 
Art has become that part of me that translates what my soul sees and perceives. Art has become my path to touch your soul with mine, will you to let me? Can you be vulnerable? Can you look beyond  the image and penetrate inside the emotion that it conveys? I have so many things to say! I don’t know what is right to express and what’s not but I guess I’ll know when the times are right.

Displaced by the violence project

Early this year I started to have the idea to make photos where I can include orphans, they have always made part of my life interests. I've even been thinking for many years that I'd like to adopt a girl. Things have happened that has stopped me to go ahead. There are not enough valid reasons to not do it now but only that I'm in a moment of big changes in my life. I keep very busy and I'm trying to take off as an artist. A girl would need all of my time and dedication. I am not sure if I'm being selfish about it.

 My heart goes to them, I do want to help them. So, by the month of May I asked my husband if he could prepare some days off work, towards the end of the year, so he can go with me to some unknown place to photograph orphans. At the time, I had no idea what I was doing but only the urge to do it. 

My idea is to donate all of my earnings to them. I still don't know exactly how to do it. I know this is a very delicate subject. I want to give in a wise and effective way. Anyways, I trust people and it has worked for me. It doesn't mean I won't be careful about it. I'm finding my way and I need to have experiences, So everything's alright.

During the whole summer, I kept thinking about the realization of this project, I have to say that I passed through high amounts of frustration since I didn't know how  to create those photographs. However, the seed was planted and I didn't stopped thinking until I had the idea. It came at the end of the summer, just before getting back to school (which by the way, I'm grateful about so much!). I wanted to create something different to what I've done, something new to me. So, I started to think about working on canvas. A the moment, I saw on FB someone that I had met once about 1 year ago. She's an artist and I noticed her work on canvas so I called her and asked her if she could give me classes about it. I learned some important tips about the subject and the ideas kept on coming. So, canvas, painting, photography and some more techniques, including very symbolic actions will be included. 

Now, I have the exact idea of what I want. My new work will be a mixed media art. Isn't it exciting? For me, it is!! The unknown, the new, the change have always thrilled me...!!! 

The other part that was tough was to find the kids. At first, I was so "shy" to ask! Someone told me that it wasn't possible! That to have permission to take photos of kids was simply not doable. It stopped me for a while...(That's why I say to people, only believe to those that say that you can do it and do not pay big attention to those that say you can't). Then, I started to ask different people, everybody knew a place that could help with it, at the end I found several places and I've started the process with kids displaced by the violence, many of them are orphans. I will speak about the topic another time.

Therefore, I'm happy now that I have a project, I have children to photograph, I have the probability to help them (if the work is sold). This is a process and I love the process! It's better than arriving to the goal.

 

Today

past alive.jpg

Today it's a wonderful day!! I'm getting ready for my second photograph exhibition and it's exciting! I've been learning about accepting myself just as I am. I've seen that as I do so I also accept others easier, just as they are! Even if they are so different to me. I've seen that working with myself has an impact on how I see people and each time,  it's so much better!  I say so because I am always struggling with the feeling of I am different and with the idea of they might not like who I am.

At the same time, I see everybody loves me and accepts me! I see it's all in my head and as I work it out I release all that tension and I realize that it's me who is not accepting the fact of being different!

 I think human beings are always in a search to fit in, to be like the others, in a group! In my mind, I like the idea to be different but in my instincts I'm drawn to be similar to others in order to be accepted.  

Now, at this moment, I accept myself and my work, I validate my ideas and also my mistakes! So tomorrow when people observe my work, I'll be there in total  freedom of "this is who I am" and whether you like my images or not ,everything is ok. Much love!

Inspired by freedom

Inspired by freedom

Definition of freedom: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. It is so interesting to see freedom as a power! It is something that not too many people have...so I understand why it could be consider a special power. However, it is a power that most of us could have if we decided to...but the decision to be free by the truth...which truth? my truth? religion truth? my family truth? society general truth? which one is my truth? ...and the truth will make you free... When I can totally be what I am without any restraint or judgment about it...my feelings of freedom flow...but when I know the society where I live is so different to me and very judgmental about it...then I feel held back. At the end, everything is in my mind, it is me who decide how to feel, it is me who chooses my truth,  it is me who decides to be free.

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