I was a non-English speaking 13-year old when I arrived in the United States in 1982. Life in Brooklyn, New York was a stark contrast to my early memories of Panama and the simple joys of climbing trees and playing with my friends while my mom was nearby hanging clothes on the line. As an Afro-Latina, I struggled to find a community that would accept me and where I felt I belonged. My own identity was regularly challenged by others who judged me by the texture of my hair or the fact that I spoke Spanish fluently and struggled to communicate in English. When judged by adults and my peers, my hair was “too good” to be considered black and the color of my skin was too dark to be speaking Spanish. In addition to the hardships, I have many fond memories of my time in New York. Brooklyn is where I learned about double dutch and cooling off from the New York summer heat in the open fire hydrants.
I love being a maker and clay is my medium of choice. Clay is a very personal material to me. When I put my hands in the clay and my fingers get lost in the mixture, for the moment, we become one. I stretch pull, pinch and form shapes where I leave evidence of my having been there. I follow up by drawing on my work where I embrace my natural curly hair, heritage, womanhood and at times current worldly struggles. My artwork is a record of my experiences as an Afro-Latina American.