Rebuilt from the Ground Up
The borderland saw me grow and its landscape continues to teach me about who I am. I am part of the desert space at the edge of the Mexico/US border that is marked by a dotted line. In my installations, I create desert landscapes that become abstract self-portraits of experiences from my childhood in Mexico to adulthood in the U.S. For this installation, I created 500 “nopal” ears (prickly pear) that are stripped down from the details that make up the actual nopal. The process becomes meditative through the repetition that results in a reconstructed prickly pear tree.
The cactus-inspired sculptures refer to my Mexican cultural history and are made with terracotta clay. They are low-fired to cone 013 and stained with coffee to create a value scale of browns, oranges, and tan colors of the ground beneath. I pinched each piece to shape and I leave the memory of my fingertips to express my presence as a MeXicana Americana rebuilt from the ground up.
Photo credit: Narong Tintamusik and Hanna Pettyjohn