projects in progress
Founding Member of We da Pepo
WE DA PEPO is an art collective interested in a diverse, broad definition of the American experience. We are minorities, immigrants, legal aliens, Americas. Our common language is English but we also speak the language of our places of origin. We are cultural, linguistic hybrids who invent new words everyday, words spoken in Spanglish, Chinglish, Konglish, etc. We grow up with older relatives who speak English with a thick accent, who wear their “otherness” in every syllable they utter. Yet we [are also] the people of these United States of America, the ones referred to in our constitution.
Our collective is named after an anthology of essays on culture identity by Jose Antonio Burciaga. We honor his work and continue asking the questions he posed related to identity, society and culture.
La Línea, living on the line
The Tijuana / San Diego Border Billboard Project
The Tijuana / San Diego border crossing is referred to, by locals, as “La Línea”. Not only in reference to the border but more so regarding the 25 lanes (líneas) of northbound traffic waiting to cross from Mexico into the United States. The focus of this investigation is the wait. Whether physically waiting in a cue or waiting for authorities to determine the outcome of your immigration status—waiting is a state of unknown, powerless anxiety. This work is a collaboration between artists and individuals who seek entry into the United States. The images are informed by personal narratives surrounding the space and time of their wait, collected by way of phone and in person interviews. The final works will be displayed on billboards on the border as well as in an upcoming exhibition at Root Division late 2022.
The Passage of the Tortoise
The desert tortoise carries her home on her back, equal parts shelter and burden. It slows her down, yet it protects her from enemies. She is capable of enduring the harsh desert conditions in great part due to her shell. Just like the tortoise, undocumented immigrants from Latin America, fleeing on foot, must survive a journey through a hostile terrain. The Tortoise Project aims to humanize the traveler, spotlight similarities between us. We have all taken and prepared for journeys. How can we put ourselves in the shoes of a fellow human being who embarks on one of this magnitude.
Despite the dangers, humans continue to challenge the desert and undertake the voyage, and just like the tortoise, some endure. We ask ourselves what gives the traveler the strength, the determination to embark on such a treacherous voyage? What would you take as an emotional, spiritual, psychological amulet or reminder of home to help you though this journey?
Collaborations with Vivian Vivas
Breath is a creative force, a source of power, a vehicle for memory, and a connection between our physical and our metaphysical selves. Breath is our intangible presence. It has cadence, rhythm and repetition. Over the past year, and beginning with our performance, CALCIFIED, we have been raising questions about identity, history, environment, health, and justice through the exploration of breath. We use our bodies, fire breathing techniques, movement and meditation to achieve an amplified state of consciousness as a point of embarkment. We are currently researching transformations, manifestations and visualizations of the breath from diverse cultural and professional perspectives.