Plant Study I
This series of works is about healing our collective relationship to nature, particularly in an era where a global culture of mass extraction is causing an annihilation of wildlife, plants, birds and insects. I created these works to represent the transformational power of tuning into nature’s wisdom.
After a life crisis in late 2018, I put my focus into my relationship to plants, to surround myself with them so that I could wake up to their life-giving force. It was my way of healing my relationship to the natural world. I grew up in a cement city, with dead structures all around me, cement and buildings, hardly green areas. Meanwhile, wealthy folks lived in the greenest and most beautiful mountains just a few minutes away. People of color and migrant families like mine were forced into hoods, next to freeways that spewed emissions and made us sick. I didn’t do much camping as a kid because my parents were busy surviving, plus we didn’t really know how to navigate that world. Therefore my relationship to nature was dormant.
As I confronted headline after headline about climate catastrophes - from wildfires to floods - I began to feel the sadness of injustice in my body. These incidents are all the cause of climate chaos and an unhinged fossil fuel industry. The wealthiest and most powerful people in the world are creating a crisis in which the most vulnerable suffer. People of color, migrants, animals, insects - suffer the most in climate chaos. And yet this is not new, this has been going on for 500 years, since the beginning of colonialism. I had a vision in which I saw how colonizers ripped away my ancestors traditional practices, they tried to bury our knowledge and our relationship to nature, so that they could exploit her.
But within me, the ancestral memory is alive, and my artistic practice is a vessel for that. The colonial project was not successful in wiping it all out, because a seed was planted and like my plants, that seed is growing. Our stories are still here. And that’s what plants, nature and plant medicine does for me. It opens a portal so that I can listen to nature’s wisdom through stories and images. I’ve awakened now and am becoming more intentional about making art about the critical importance of a realignment to nature.