Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Field Study with Suzanne Lacy in Quito, Ecuador

I had the great fortune to be a small part of this project. It would be my first time in South America and assisting Suzanne Lacy. Some of you know that I am coming from California State University, Monterey Bay, where Suzanne was one of the founding faculty members of the university and it is an amazing journey to be obtaining my MFA at OTIS College of Art and Design, where Lacy is the Graduate Public Practice Chair.

The images below are from my personal journey within the project. This project has been in process for over a year and I got to see the fruition of all of the hard work, dedication and passion of the many people and communities that came together all in the name of this project, De tu puño y letra: Diálogos en el ruedo. 

The following is an excerpt from A Blade of Grass, where Lacy was awarded a fellowship to support this project:
raduate Public Practice Chair
Graduate Public Practice Chair

A Blade of Grass: " Her ABOG Fellowship will support De tu puño y letra: Diálogos en el ruedo, which will intersect public, legal and educational institutions’ efforts to fight violence against women with a populous organizing project in Quito, Ecuador. Working with the City government, colleges, non-profits, leaders, volunteers and youth to address the dimensions of violence against women, it will culminate in a public performance on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The project is built on a prior, well-received 2014 national campaign, “Cartas de Mujeres,” that invited women to publicly submit their testimonies on experienced violence. Produced by the Fundación Museos de la Ciudad in collaboration with scores of colleagues in Quito, this project will engage significantly with men in the region."

Let's go! The first stop, dinner at the airport before I hop on the plane to Mexico and then shift over at 1:00AM to a new plane into Quito, Ecuador. I took this 'fortune' as advice as I would go into a situation where I knew there was going to be a big language barrier for myself and I would have to do the best that I could.


 Here we are in Quito, at Centro de Arte Contemporáneo (CAC) at 7:30AM, just off of the plane and into the working office that was full of creative energy, talking, sharing, thinking, drawing, typing, and a little translating.

First task at hand was to help cut 800 little tickets for food for all of the volunteers for one of the rehearsal days. This would be my first time on a "set" which is different than a mural project, however there are similarities I found. One of the many things that I found so amazing, was the great care that was taken, for all people working on the project.

Onward to the bull ring. This ring is the last ring in Quito that still has bull fights. I was just hopping on to the project and getting a glimpse of how radical this work is, on many different levels.

Next task was to write real large, a quote, in cursive, in a straight line and then fill it in. My mural skills got put right to work, I had a great time dancing with the giant stick, digging into the earth.

A gather of the minds.

This is just a sample of a stencil I created to see if we could create a more graphic look with the materials at hand. After the rehearsal, this concept would later be scratched.

The men are arriving. What I found to be so amazing and impressive was the great diversity of men. Men from all ages, backgrounds and classes were there.

Another meeting to hash out more details talk about what could happen and not happen and what to do and how to do it, whats the best way possible. I really enjoy working with all different types of people for their own outlooks and ideas, it is so exciting to hear different ideas.

Above and below a little food sampling. The people I met in Quito were so sweet and wonderful. I understand Spanish better than I can speak it ( I still need a lot of practice) but all the people I met were so kind to me, even if we could not understand each other.

Safe Taxi!

Back at CAC!

Here we go! Drawing time! Next task was to create two maps that would be used as the foundation of the project for directing people where to go.

Below: My friend Pau, of Project Wallflowers, was in Quito just three days before I was. She was partaking in Warmi Paints! From the Warmi website: Warmi = Woman in quechua, the name of a people of the central Andes of South America and their language. Women of all ages from this part of the world will create a new vision of themselves, nurture their community, and reflect a powerful message.

Special guests of honor; LADY PINK, and MARTHA COOPER + 20 women will paint collaborative murals, host workshops, and present their life’s work to the Ecuadorian community.
International Artists:
Anarkia ( Brasil) Abusa Crew ( Chile ) Bastardilla ( Colombia ) Fio Silva ( Argentina ) Ledania ( Colombia ) Lili Cuca ( Colombia ) Pau (Germany/Chile) Rank ( Mexico ) Toofly ( NYC/ Ecuador ) Tysa ( Mexico ) Vero Rivera ( Puerto Rico )

Ecuador Artists:
Belu Loops, Bln Bike, Chink, Crispo, La Suerte, Lie, Maria, Males, MO, and Vera

Here we are back at the bull ring for another rehearsal!

One of the things that just can not be controlled is the weather. A large tent was placed above the ring to keep everyone dry.

Here we are, next day, back at CAC! This is the inside of their little restaurant, which is AMAZING! Everyone reading this should go there!

And onward back to the ring for another rehearsal the night before the performance.

Lacy and team above. 
Below are just a few chairs.

WOW! I have never seen so many radios in my life!
Below is the view from our humble abode.

We are ready to go!

We have arrived!

This is my great AMIGO Freddy!

AFTER the performance

Above we celebrated at a little spot, and then, just like that, I'm back on the plane heading back to Los Angeles.

This has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life in all realms, travel, art, education, friendships, life experiences. We all had different experiences, with our own past memories that are inside our bodies. Even though I did not understand most of the letters that were being read, I could feel the emotions. As I looked around the candle lit bull ring, tears were falling from the eyes of many.  This is what powerful art does, it moves people. It brings about awareness and great change.  I am so grateful to have met everyone I met and to have been able to be a small part. May you all be well and take great care of yourself and those around you. xo

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