10/15/2017 1 Comment
Presented by the chaskis of the Peace and Dignity Journey
Vanessa Quezada, Adi Ejekayani Suarez Reyes, and Iriany Itzel Lopez-Hernandez . Curated by Rebel Mariposa.
Re~membering Sacred Offerings for Abya Yala (the Americas) or Recordando ofrendas sagradas para Abya Yala is an exhibition of photographs documenting a 7-month ceremonial run that spans the length of the Americas and surveys three runners (chaskis) on The Peace and Dignity Journey (PDJ) in 2016 - native San Antonio-born Dr. Vanessa Quezada, Iriany Itzel Lopez-Hernandez and Adi Ejekayani Suarez Reyes and is curated by Rebel Mariposa. Starting in 1992, PDJ is a prayer run that occurs every four years and spans over 14,000 miles; from Alaska and from Argentina, to the Bridge of the Americas in Panama, and these runners are guided by sacred staffs entrusted to them by First Nations. In this exhibition; Quezada, Lopez-Hernandez and Suarez Reyes collaborate with Fuerza Unida to create tela (fabric) frames, reminding us that one thread alone is weak, but the weave of our community gives the strength of resiliency in difficult times; calling for us to re~member who we are and how to take better care of the land and each other.
Join us for Community Storytelling and Closing Reception
Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 7p-9p at AP Art Lab, 1906 S. Flores.
What should visitors expect to see inside the gallery?
Quezada: Reflections of ourselves, our families and our cultures. Photos will be in frames of telas or tejidos that are handmade from different regions where the journey prayed. Expect to see other people with their hearts open and who are looking for community just like you. Experience a weaving of time that demonstrates the strength of our native traditions. A thread, on its own is weak, but as a weave shows us the strength of the community when we feed our relationships.
What was your role in the 2016 Peace and Dignity Run?
Quezada: This show is an offering to my home community in San Antonio to share all the beautiful things I was able to witness thanks to their unwavering prayer and support of my community. It is only through their support that I have been able to organize the journey from Alaska to Panama.
What is the significance of highlighting the journey of
Iriany Itzel Lopez-Hernandez and Adi Ejekayani Suarez Reyes and yourself?
Quezada: All of us have a journey. The importance is not who is doing it, the important part is how it's ONLY possible in commUNITY. We didn't make it a "Peace and Dignity Journey" gallery because the journey is a spiritual movement. This "art gallery" is an interactive community offering to give people a reflection of themselves and regain a sense of dignity for the different truths that exist to generate recognition and respect for the many worlds that exist with us today that are calling us to take responsibility for each other and the earth.
As a Pharmacist, how did that knowledge inform and guide you on the Peace and Dignity Journey?
Quezada: My relationship to knowledge is complex. In dominant society knowledge is perversely used to sever relationships of peoples and the land to be used for control and manipulation. Unfortunately, we see the same human patterns with spiritual knowledge as well. The Journey has proven to be the most powerful education I have ever received: How to Love More.
As a documentation of the prayer run, do you consider yourself a photographer,
documentarian, artist? Or, from what standpoint do you present this to your audience?
Quezada: Chaski. Chaskis were the messengers of the Incan Empire. The staffs entrusted to us remind us we are only a small part of this prayer. The staffs carry the medicine and do all the work. We are responsible to share the messages passed to us and share them respectfully.
How can people contribute or participate in The Peace and Dignity Journey?
Quezada: Check out www.txpeaceanddignity.com for updated events. Also thanks to our fiscal sponsor, the Society of Native Nations PDJ accepts tax deductible monetary donations to help this prayer move too!
Do you have any hobbies?
Quezada: I had to look up with word hobby - "leisure time activities". Right now I have the privilege to not have a "job" that would divide my time between leisure and/or work so I do things I like to do: cultivate relationships - to the land, going on hikes, swims, talking to the birds and to people through body work, good conversations and organizing community shares/builds like this one.
Do you have any advice for younger generations on how to become better citizens on Earth?
Quezada: Learn your family history. Reflecting on these patterns and tendencies allow us to recognize them, respect them and take responsibility for who we are and use our power for good to continue becoming who we want to be.
Thanks again for taking the time to provide insight into what this space represents and we thank you for all the work you are doing with and for the community, Vanessa, as well as everyone within the PDJ family. Thank you.
Please join us on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 from 7p-9p for Community Storytelling and Closing Reception at AP Art Lab.
Re~membering Sacred Offerings for Abya Yala (the Americas) is supported by Lady Base Gallery, an artist-run community initiative for women and lgbtq artists in San Antonio, Texas. While working to exhibit emerging to mid-career artists; Lady Base Gallery also builds partnerships with local galleries such as AP Art Lab run by Amanda Poplawsky; a space that supports “civic, social, and community engagement through art”, to provide gallery space for professional development.
TRIZAS opens to the public on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at AP Art Lab.
Closing reception and artist talk will be on Thurs, Sept. 28 at AP Art Lab.
This year, Lady Base Gallery set out to host a Fotoseptiembre 2017 exhibition curated by Rebel Mariposa. Rebel has been active in the performance and visual art world in Tejas, Califas and Mexico for over 15 years, specializing in emerging artists and new works. Her curation entails this exhibition, TRIZAS featuring a series of self-portraits and prose by San Antonio-based photographer Julysa Sosa and depicts an introspective account with collected dream imagery using an iPhone. Sosa is a documentary photographer based in San Antonio, Texas whose work focuses on storytelling; drawing out obscured occurrences existing on the periphery of life. She received a BA in photojournalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has published works by National Public Radio and National Geographic. For this month, we bring you Q&A Sessions with Julysa Sosa to learn more about the inspiration behind her first solo show, TRIZAS.
What does Trizas mean? And, how does this title describe the exhibition?
Sosa: Trizas translates to fragments, describing the journey from the dream world to the conscious world. These are the initial seconds after waking and those highlights from a dream, remembering the important information to survive in the conscious world.
What should a visitor expect to see on opening night?
Sosa: I want this series to be a sensory experience - from the binaural waves humming in the background to the physical act of walking through the door's threshold. I want the viewer to feel euphoria, uncomfortable, and eeriness from these dream entries.
Tell us a little about The Truth Is Blue...the image on your show flier:
Why do you aim to dramatize selfies and self-documention? From what lens did you decide that universal access needs a platforms in your work? Or, perhaps you can expand on why universal access is important and who it is important to?
Sosa: Selfies have always been the easiest form of self expression for me. It’s a platform in which I learned to face myself because I struggled throughout adolescence to accept my indigenous features and with selfies I started looking at myself in a way that was uncomfortable, but necessary for me.
For TRIZAS, I knew I wanted to shoot everything with an iPhone because I wanted to closely mimic the concept of the selfie - casual and vain with the available tools & light. This became an opportunity to depict how far one can take a simple tool, a cellphone that is universally accessible.
Working with this medium has a potential for limitless self-expression. I carry my phone with me at all times and in moments of idleness or during a creative block, a selfie has always helped catapult me into work. My camera phone is my favorite camera because of how simple it is to use, edit, and share with the social media world. And within this series, it allowed me to be more intentional, disciplined and intimate with my selfies.
And following on the theme of accessibility, I use this body of work as a platform for marginalized communities who are often forgotten in the art realms because of their socioeconomic status. I wanted to break the expectation that fancy equipment & tools are needed to create impactful art and I also want to provide a space where the viewer can be intimate with the work. It was also the reason behind the images being displayed without frames and more importantly, without a piece of glass disconnecting the experience. The last thing I wanted was this exhibit to feel like it belonged in a museum because I want it to feel like it belongs in a home.
Would you describe one specific experience that reflects the "familia, love, or realization in the form of dreams and fragments of the subconscious memory" in your exhibition?
Sosa: Most of my dreams revolve around my family. In this particular dream, I was going through a difficult time in my life, heartbreak over a toxic situation paralyzed me into fear. I interpreted this dream as forcing me to realize I had to let go of the poison mixing in my blood and heart as my family watched, representing an extension of my connectedness to them and my ancestors.
What are the significant highlights in your life that you portray in your work?
Sosa: I’m referring to the moments in my life where I felt my path was at a crossroads. To become the version I am today took many mistakes and lessons that were unforgiving. Often times these periods, ranging from childhood to adulthood were difficult for me to face and overcome. Death, love, fear, heartbreak, a sense of deception are reflected in many of my selfies.
Dreams and selfies are such an isolated, individualistic experiences. How do you use selfies and dreams to connect with others?
Sosa: My experiences are absolutely subjective, but also, everyone dreams. Whether they are actual sleep experiences or simply daydreaming; I think everyone can relate to the experience of waking up, staring at the ceiling, and trying to recall the pieces of a dream that memory quickly erases. Pairing that concept with normalizing selfies creates a space for viewers to mirror their personal experiences in my work.
Do you see your future shows going beyond your selfies? What other people and things do you desire to photograph?
Sosa: I believe there are still many facets of myself that I have to explore and I know I will gravitate towards identity-based work for a while. I’m not sure what future art shows will reveal, but I know I will always stay in the realm of famillia, cultura, love, and magical realism.
If you had to choose between staying in the awake world or in the dream world, which would you choose?
Sosa: This is difficult. In the dream world, time is non-binary and infinite versions of myself exist and this is a concept that I struggle with when I am awake. Time is ambiguous and in dreams it’s irrelevant, but in the awake world, it’s linear and I clash with the rigidness of illusion versus reality. I believe the dream world is a record of the pieces of myself and ancestors that have lived and crossed into the afterlife. I believe it is the realm that connects me to them, those who are able to offer guidance and I believe that ultimately, it is a path to my Creator. I believe all of these things exist in one. I can honestly say at certain points in my life, I longed to stay in the dream world, but I understand now that desiring to stay in the dream world is selfish. To refuse the gift of awareness in the awake world would cripple future generations as I am now an active part of the genetic coding that will guide those after me.
Do you use art to understand your identity?
Sosa: I would say that majority of what I create is a selfish exploration of my identity. I am constantly trying to understand more. At first I was solely focused on myself, but over the years I’ve learned that I am just a moving part to my history. I learned that the generation before me and the ones before them and so on have slowly expanded and pushed for me to exist today. So to understand myself, I have learned to document and understand my parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc. Their history is coded in my genes and I am the current carrier. I have realized that time is not binary and the messages I receive from my ancestors are for the next generation to prosper. So, I have learned to detach myself from seeking worldly validation. I have learned to listen carefully, trust instinctually, and walk courageously knowing I am not alone on this journey.
What would you say to anyone that is questioning their decisions when it comes to being an artist in the 21st century?
Sosa: This is something I struggle with daily. I don't believe there is a choice in being an artist; only a choice to giving yourself permission to create. In the real world, being a starving artist is a highly romanticized ideology which I don't agree with nor have interest in pursuing. So, I ask myself what matters in my life? - familia, love, history, and creating from what I know. You do not need the title of "artist" to be an artist. If you feel compelled, allow yourself to create and if there is passion, the monetary aspect will follow organically.
What hobbies do you have outside of making art?
Sosa: In my spare time, I read obsessively. I also value time with the ones I love and I am always in search of learning about other cultures and communities.
- The End
Thank you, Julysa Sosa for this insightful gesture and congratulations on your first solo show. Trizas is an example of magical realism meets selfies as the technology today offers the flexibility for creatives to take control of their artistic aesthetics as a method for creative identity-based strategies. As we wrap up Q&A Sessions with Julysa we also like to thank curator, Rebel Mariposa for her curatorial lead and bringing Sosa's work to the forefront for Fotoseptiembre 2017. Stay tuned because we'll have a Q&A Sessions with Rebel later this month to talk more about her experiences behind curating and creating space for communities of color.
TRIZAS is sponsored by Lady Base Gallery, an artist-run community initiative for women and lgbtq artists in San Antonio, Texas. While working to exhibit emerging to mid-career artists; Lady Base Gallery also builds partnerships with local galleries such as AP Art Lab run by Amanda Poplawsky; a space that supports “civic, social, and community engagement through art”, to provide gallery space for professional development.
Q&A Sessions edited by Sarah Castillo
Castillo is the gallerist for Lady Base Gallery and a San Antonio-based artist
San Antonio-based artists, Lisette Chávez (website) and Audrya Flores (website) have taken on the peculiar dance story of South Texas - El Camaroncito with a new exhibition titled, Angel Baby on view Saturday, July 8th at AP Art Lab located at 1906 S. Flores during the Second Saturday Art Walk in the Southtown Arts District. Through Angel Baby, El Camaroncito is retold. The story is about a woman who finds herself in the company of a handsome man with a chicken foot and cloven hoof. Chávez and Flores reclaim this legend through a feminist perspective; recreating the story with a female protagonist as they challenge viewers to consider the manner in which folklore reinforces societal expectations of women and gender related power structures.
Chávez was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley and has an MFA in lithography and installation. Her most recent artwork questions faith and confronts the discomfort in balancing religious beliefs and actions in everyday life. Flores is a Tejana artist, educator, and mother from Brownsville, Texas. Her artwork addresses issues regarding identity influenced by the storytelling traditions of her family, the occult, and her cultural roots.
Chávez and Flores took some time from their busy install this week to answer a few questions - shedding more light on the meaning behind Angel Baby and more insight to what inspires them. Here’s what they had to say.
Why did you two decide to revisit this particular South Texas folktale?
Lisette Chávez: Although we had a goal of collaborating on a project, we really wanted to have an organic way of selecting our concept. We met several times and had many casual conversations. Audrya and I have a strong interest in the occult and the supernatural. After exchanging a few ghost stories, we kept circling back to the tale of “El Camaroncito.” Audrya Flores: The exploration of dark themes in our work is definitely where Lisette and I connect. We’re both from the Rio Grande Valley, so we were raised on ghost stories and folktales. We wanted to address some recurring issues we were dealing with as women, but also tell a story full of horror and nostalgia. “El Camaroncito” was a natural fit.
What are some reasons for challenging your viewers’ assumptions of societal expectations, particularly within gendered power constructs?
Lisette Chávez: In discussing a lot of the South Texas folklore, Audrya and I realized how women were portrayed as these weak, naive, and almost hysterical characters. We wanted to use this opportunity to create a female character that exuded power. In this case, she’s the protagonist. Rather than being hunted, she is the hunter. Audrya Flores: The women in the ghost stories and folktales I was exposed to as a child were always being shamed for something. They were “getting what they deserved” for some sort of immoral behavior. And despite my love for the chills they inspired, I have always hated the admonishing tone in these stories. I mean, don’t women have to hear enough of that bullshit in our everyday lives? So, Lisette and I felt the need to imagine a character that was different. She is not a victim of her circumstances. She doesn’t make choices based on fear or the expectations of someone else. She is strong, formidable, and shameless. I could’ve used a hero like her growing up!
How did you like working with the video medium?
Audrya Flores: It was a challenge! There are so many moving pieces to coordinate. But we’ve had a lot of help from family and friends and that has really made this new medium less daunting. I learned a lot. It’s allowing me to see my own work completely differently now. Movement and action are such incredible elements. I look forward to exploring this medium more. Lisette Chávez: There was a lot of planning involved within our project and it really helped. We also sketched a lot and had several conversations about the way we wanted our viewer to perceive the imagery. Because of the planning portion, I feel like it’s more difficult for me to be spontaneous with the video medium. There were some instances when we were shooting and we’d come across a great shot; those opportunities were my favorite.
Last, but not least, a little more about you. Do you use art to understand your identity? If so, explain how.
Lisette Chávez: Definitely, I revisit a lot of my childhood memories through my work. It is in making the work that I’m able to analyze, meditate over thoughts, and come to an understanding about some of the complex interactions I’ve had with my family. Audrya Flores: Yes. For me, art is a tool for looking inward, a tool for healing. Almost all of my work is me trying to “see” my whole self. Currently, I’m making work that addresses trauma and anxiety. I’m exploring how those issues shape how I view the rest of the world and myself.
Name two artists that have strongly influenced your work.
Lisette Chávez: I really admire the work of Aleksandra Waliszewska and Sharon Kopriva.
Audrya Flores: Katy Horan and Mas Rudas (they're a collective, so I’m cheating) have been very influential.
What would you to say to anyone that is questioning their decisions when it comes to being an artist in the 21st century?
Lisette Chávez: 1) Keep your art honest and pull inspiration from your own life experiences. 2) The only person you should compete with is yourself. Audrya Flores: Spill your guts! Be weird. Make it genuine.
What hobbies do you have outside of making art?
Lisette Chávez: I like looking at old items online or in thrift shops, I'm curious to learn about an object’s history. I also love watching horror movies and foreign films. Audrya Flores: I love working with plants. It’s an obsession, really. And if I’m not in my garden, you can catch me at a local thrift shop or the Guadalupe River.
This concludes our Q&A session with Audrya and Lisette. We have some incredibly, outstanding South Texas talent here. Help us support these two artists by joining us for the opening reception on Sat., July 8, 2017 from 7-10pm at AP Art Lab, 1906 S. Flores, located at the 1906 Building during the Second Saturday Art Walk in the Southtown Arts District. A closing reception will be held Sat, Aug. 12 from 7-10pm. This event is free and open to the public. To visit the gallery between these dates, please make an appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT THE GALLERY: Lady Base Gallery is an artist-funded community initiative to support the artistic practice of women and LGBTQ artists in San Antonio, Texas. While working to exhibit emerging to mid-career artists; Lady Base Gallery also builds partnerships with local galleries such as AP Art Lab to provide gallery space for professional development. AP Art Lab is operated by Amanda Poplawsky and strives to provide a space that cultivates “civic, social, and community engagement through art”
Huge thanks to our sponsor Viva Vegeria for their gracious support.
Q&A Sessions edited by Sarah Castillo
Castillo is the gallerist for Lady Base Gallery and a San Antonio-based artist