"Not Your Forbidden Fruit"
This piece was inspired by Suheir Hammed's "Not Your Erotic, Not Your Exotic" poem. In the poem Hammed talks about the fetishization of women of color in our culture. Her words urge women of color to counter how we are seen as rare and exotic even though there are plenty of women that look like us in the world. I relate to this poem so much because I grew up in a predominantly white area where because of my skin I was seen as something "new" or fetishized by the men in my life. So many time I would hear "I have never been with a black girl" or "you are the prettiest black girl I have ever seen." I used to embrace these micro aggressions as positives and they made me feel special. This piece is about me realizing what I am not, and that I shouldn't let someone use my body as their tantalizing idea of a fun time. I see this piece later becoming a performance piece.
Felt, plaster, paint, cotton dress
This piece to me remains untitled. It is untitled because there are so many ways I interpret this work depending on how its photographed and seen. Is it about the weight women carry when navigating this world under the male gaze? Is it about upholding beauty standards in American society? Or depression and emotional stability? For me it started out as one idea and became so much more when I adorned the piece. So I left it untitled, open to interpretation and appropriation.
"Mother of Pearl" (2016)
Resin casted nipples, metal chain, faux pearls and gems,
Mother of pearl was created in response to the shaming women receive for breast feeding in public. As a mother of two I look at my nipples as a part of my body I used to feed my children. Our society has sexualized breast to the point of turning something as natural and beautiful as breast feeding, into a act that should been done in privacy for showing the breast in public is indecency. From the argument that "Intimate acts have no place in public," to the fact that in some public places breast feeding is not protected by law; these conversations need to be had so we can move forward in realizing that a women's body is not there for pleasure and tantalization. The breasts function to produce milk in order to nourish an infant. Its an amazing aspect of my body that I will not hide and no one should be forced to. I casted my nipples in resin and constructed them into a necklace to make something that embraces the beauty of breast feeding. The pearls represent milk and all its power and femininity. Pearls symbolize innocence, generosity, purity, and love, just like I believe the act of breast feeding a child represents.
"Femme and Fierce" (2016)
Copper, leather, vinyl, plastic boning
To me this piece embodies my definition of feminism. Feminism represents the idea that the qualities that are associated to any gender or sex should be equally valued in society. I identify as a female. I am a very feminine women. Those qualities that are assigned to me and also the ones that I value should be regarded as equally important to society as those associated with masculinity. But ask someone to list qualities they associate with masculinity, then ask the same of femininity, the list of masculine qualities most likely has a positive connotation to it while the list for feminine qualities in our culture carries a negative connotation (or not a quality valued in high powered positions). Emotional, Vulnerability, Sensual, Intuitive, Homemaker, Passive, Cooperative. Those word either have a negative connotation, or are not taken seriously in the workforce. Women, feminine identifying individuals, or anyone who exudes these attributes are warriors and are strong in their own ways. I wanted to turn the corset, which was historically repressive and restrictive to women, as a symbol of empowerment and unbridled sexuality.
Brass, synthetic hair, thread
"Coronation of my Universe" (2016)
Copper, resin, pearl, felt, synthetic hair, cotton fabric
Wood, Ceramic, Plaster, Paint, Magazine Clippings.
Brass, Copper, Nickel Silver ,Tampon, Pearl