Wheels of Life

Today. Today I questioned my existence in so many MANY ways. I went through a whirlwind of emotions in a short amount of time. I felt humiliation, defensive, embarrassed, inadequate, not good enough (you get the idea) Identity seemed to be the theme throughout. I got upset so many times at myself at other people but mostly myself. I tend to always be so hard on myself because of many fears I carry daily (I am that bag lady) I’m unlearning these fears but it’s a day by day habit. Tonight after learning I got the art teaching position (see FB post) my entire body went numb and literally felt like I was going to pass out. I share all of this because I know I can’t be the only one who struggles daily with how they navigate throughout the world and maybe my story can inspire or maybe someone kind find peace in relation with me. I forced myself to go to Yoga tonight, even after feeling so mentally and physically exhausted. Each time you go to class your instructor asks you to set an intention for your practice. Tonight mine was ACKNOWLEDGING MY POWER. I thought of this every time I wanted to give up in a pose, or compare my practice with the person next to me and at the end of the class I cried (yet again today) because I felt powerful, a feeling I haven’t felt in a long time. I honored and acknowledged my power tonight and I hope to remember this as I step into my new journey of being a source of inspiration as an artist, a teacher, partner, mother, a friend, a humyn being, a yogi in training and student of life. I don’t need Jesus to take the wheel because I AM THE WHEEL. Peace.

The song that played at the end of Vinyasa tonight…

Coconut Love

I walked into 2016 like a blazin’ fire, ready to conquer whatever came my way. That good feeling quickly disappeared just two weeks into the new year I was involved in yet ANOTHER car accident. I’ve been in a handful and just like a cat, I feel as if I’ve been using up my nine lives. This last one left me feeling incredibly stressed and hopeless. I decided to reach out to a mentor of mine, this amazing humyn being for some guidance. When I talk with her (which is usually via telephone) I always picture us on some old rotary phone, like a step back in time and we’re communicating as if we’re on some top secret, existential plane. I relate talking to her as if in a dream and on the other end God was reaching their hand out to me and calling me forth to some greater purpose. I’m serious. I’m so serious when I say my conversations with her mean the world to me and I always step back afterwards and really think about change and evolution and acceptance and non acceptance-all of it.

Recently we spoke and she asked me to think about a few things and to consider carrying out a few rituals. One of them-cracking a fresh coconut and pouring the water over my head. I thought of my grandmother instantly, for some reason I always remember her having coconuts in her home. I listened, bought a coconut for a whopping $1.29 and brought that baby home, pounded 3 holes in it and asked my partner to pour all of its goodness throughout my hair and scalp. Immediately, I felt nourished and purified and cooled. The feeling is hard to put into words. I haven’t washed my hair since but you couldn’t tell. I decided to also do some additional research of my own. So included in this post is a nice quick read on the importance of the coconut. I won’t disclose why I personally performed this ritual on myself because well, it’s personal. But please enjoy the article, make informed choices and enjoy a few flicks as a result of this magical coconut!

http://www.sanskritimagazine.com/rituals_and_practices/importance-and-significance-of-coconut/

Currently Reading…

Aside from my deep connection to photography I also have a love for learning, practicing and preserving various art techniques cultivated by those artisans who came before us. I don’t consider myself an artist who devotes thier life works to one art form, but my values and beliefs often align with many cultures, villages, stories, folklore, and religions from around the world. Therefore my work tends to be symbolic and filled with components drawing from a worldly perspective. I recently purchased an amazing and vibrant book called The Work of Art, Folk Artists in The 21st Century by Carmella Padilla. I highly recommend this read to anyone who identifies with being a practicing folk artist or for anyone who just wants to learn more about folk art in general. It’s filled with beautiful photos and stories and specific and ancient art techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation. The following gallery contains just a few excerpts from the book (I haven’t even begun scratching the surface). FYI this book can also be purchased at the Milwaukee Art Museum at a steal!

#blacklivesmatter

As a womyn of color living in Milwaukee, WI I am faced with many challenges. Often I think about my two sons and how uncertain their futures are living in this very divided city. As the climate of the country is shifting and people of color are rising up against injustices involving the ‘justice system’, police brutality and murders, I too began thinking about the value of my own life and my children’s lives. We are all in this together and we need to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters by using civil disobedience as a common tool to dismantle the corruption currently woven throughout the various police forces. Now is the time to take a stand and fight for what you truly believe in. We must not wait for the oppressors to determine when the ‘right’ time is to start resisting. Let us not stand idle. Tension has been growing in my city surrounding the murder of an unarmed black man named Dontre Hamilton at the hands of MPD. We want justice and we want it now. These photos were taken one evening after several protestors interrupted the flow of traffic on the freeway during rush hour and were arrested. People stood downtown waiting for the release of these protestors, they chanted, spoke and recounted their own lived experiences with the justice system. There were people of all colors, religions, and professions who came out in support. While things were peaceful and non-violent that quickly erupted when a woman walking past the doors of the building got ambushed by MPD as they attempted to pull her inside, several protestors also tugged on her in resistance to the police. The police pushed her to the ground, punched her and threatened to taze her, it all ended in arrest. The police agitated and provoked the crowd, within minutes dogs were brought out, at least 100 cops surrounded us and several paddy wagons were parked. People began to run (including myself) afraid of what was happening. I was there after a long day because I felt compelled to show solidarity and because my calling as a photographer pulled me to want to document history. I had never experienced the feeling I felt that night, fear of fighting for what you believe in and risking everything because I was exercising my basic civil rights. In the end, I made it home, there was no one else arrested and I caught some powerful images that I hold sacred to my heart.

Music Head

MKE Home Gallery Night

Cámaras Latinas at the MKE Home show, we each had 6-10 pieces showing! Pictured from left to right (Amanda, Nicole and Lila)

The photos pictured above were of folks in the Downtown & Silver City areas of Milwaukee taken by myself. The question we were assigned to ask the people we photographed was “What makes Milwaukee home to you?” My favorite was by my 11yr old son Vincent when he said “Everything I need is here, like my toys and my family.”

Below is a short video that was shown on the opening of the gallery, taken in Milwaukee. 

Been slippin’ on the updates but I’m alive & busy! Here are some things I showed at the Mama Said Gallery at Cocoon in Riverwest.

This show presented work from artist mamas, so glad to have been a part of it!

This show presented work from artist mamas, so glad to have been a part of it!