The garden of my exile, 2017
When I fled my country in 2016 like tens of thousands of others who have escaped violence, insecurity and dictatorship in Venezuela, I brought with me the ashes from a mountain fire in my hometown of Caracas. This unwanted departure that has meant the death and end of a period of my life and caused uprooting has also meant new beginnings and renewals that have birthed a 'garden' of stones that are the marks of impermanence and constant changes. From the ashes and clay I have modeled 'stones' that are fertile ground for new experiences and for transformation. The holes in these stone-like figures are reminiscent of those carved in beach stones by water and the passage of time. This garden, however, is not shaped by water, but by fire and the reshaping of identity in the face of displacement. The holes that would be filled with water in the beach stones are in this case covered in gold leaf. Gold being the most noble element on earth and crucial in alchemical and transmutation processes, I choose to juxtapose it to the ashes, to have both materials contrast and complement each other, like life and death, like light and darkness.
With the same ashes from the burned mountain fire in my hometown of Caracas, I created five prints that have words and phrases from mantras that remind me to keep present during the constant changes of life. In a moment of my life in which I have experienced deep changes in which many structures changed, a chapter was finished to give way to a new one. The ashes represent the end of that chapter but also the fertile ground from where a new life is born through the awareness of impermanence and the consciousness of the present moment. Phrases used in my daily meditations that have helped me during these processes of change are the ones that seal the value of this stage in my life.
. ceramic . transmutation . gold . immigrant . healing