May 3 – July 27, 2012 at the Vincent Price Art Museum
I was born and raised in East Los Angeles, California of Mexican immigrant parents. I create experimental narratives and documentary films, perform with the poetry and drum group, InLakEch, and use my art as a vehicle for self and community healing and empowerment.
The power behind truthful renditions on the big screen, on stage, canvas or paper can be an impacting and empowering experience for anyone who sees their own reflection. I, for one, was able to succeed at the university level because of the community of women of color feminist writers, such as Gloria Anzaldúa, Ana Castillo, Bell Hooks, Cherríe Moraga, Leslie Marmon Silko and Audre Lorde. They were reflections of me. Like them I had a voice. My existence and life experiences had legitimate value.
One of the positive aspects of my Mexican cultural upbringing is the value placed on community. Many of my relatives who immigrated to Los Angeles, California and the people they helped would not have been able to survive without this cultural value. It is one I highly value and spring forth from in order to give voice to those that have been historically excluded.
My grandmother, Maria Camacho Quintero Miranda, was the matriarch in our family who cultivated this value of community amongst many others. She was Lincoln Heights’ Avenue 18 community leader, business-woman, and healer; selling the latest fashions from downtown’s “The Alley” to the elders and the working class women in her neighborhood at very reasonable prices. She grew a garden of medicinal herbs and practiced the Chinese medicinal art of “cupping” and volunteered her time at the historical cultural art center, La Plaza de la Raza to teach workshops on how to make tortillas. She didn’t speak English yet she communicated with everyone and never had a job but always had some money. My grandmother knew how to survive in a foreign country and still give back to those in need. Even after her death in 1981, she managed to give me life.
Lagrimas de Café is an experimental short poetic film that I did to honor my grandmother Maria’s legacy. She came to visit me one random day at a café after I had been developing some black and white photographs of my grandfather’s 75th birthday. With her came memories of my eight-year old self, memories I had no idea I had. Lagrimas de Café is this spiritual encounter, a poetic tapestry weaving the past with the present, death and life, memory and love, a soulful healing.