Hasta Que Me Pongas En Paz Y Alegría
You must want to understand, and I thank you for that.
On the 29th of April my house caught on fire. I happened to be out at the time, celebrating a friend’s birthday, when I received the call from my distraught sister, sobbing, telling me what was happening. There was a fraction of a second where all the information was suspended in the space between the telephone and the entrance to my brain, then a crash. A sudden feeling of panic as I had never experienced flooded my senses−
The blur of trying to get home,
A perplexed cabbie trying to ignore my agony,
Cringing at the sound of unrelated fire trucks rushing by−
In the weeks that followed, I ignored the numbness that had taken over me in order to finish the last days of the semester. Then summer came, and with it a wave of bitterness, longing, and self-loathing. A Dementor of my very own.
As time went by I began to emerge from that ugly stage with the help of my family and literature. The significance of art returned and I craved to create once more.
Hasta Que Me Pongas En Paz Y Alegría began with my interest in the video tombstone phenomenon. The idea of a video companion to one’s remains intrigued me and guided me to think of what I would chose to leave behind. Thinking of the circumstances, how lucky we were that everyone was safe, that our key possessions which could helps us carry on with life were curiously spared, I couldn’t help but believe that it all came down to my parent’s resilient belief that we are at the mercy and care of God. After this acceptance, the use of a childhood nightly prayer recited by my mother and father felt like the perfect fit to the work. For the visuals I decided on a simple video of myself as I drifted towards sleep. The tombstone had to be accompanied by a casket which was build with the very same plywood boards used to cover up the gaping hole left by the flames.
I covered both the casket and the tombstone with a synthetic Spanish moss, then on the top of the casket I placed bright red flowers that spell out my name. The addition of the flower arrangement came from the conflict I have with my given name’s pronunciation. To an extend, I traded my name and the identity it came with when I arrived to the United States and have been struggling with the decision ever since, specially after I came to terms with the fact that I am no longer interested in being friendlier to American pronunciation and more concerned about losing, little by little, the Colombia that is inside me.
In the end this undertaking came to be the closure needed to rebirth from the ashes of my former life.
This installation was on display as part of the BFA photography senior thesis show
at the FIT Gladys Marcus Library May 8th - 22nd, 2012