My work explores the ideology of land as a cultural artifact. I challenge the opposite ideology of land as an infinite resource, which has resulted in historical and contemporary cultural loss. Land destruction, whether physical or aesthetic, leads to a weakened sense of pride and ownership in one’s natural surroundings, as well as the loss of a platform for culture to flourish.
My research focuses on the urgency of exposing public health crises as a result of environmental discrimination, the act of polluting minority, predominantly black neighborhoods or withholding relief following natural or manmade disasters. My work addresses examples such as the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, Hurricane Katrina relief in New Orleans, Hurricane Maria relief in Puerto Rico, the vast land destroyed by oil, coal and mineral mining, and unsafe air quality in industrial towns that now has made these residents more susceptible to the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, I engage with climate-based forced migration which continues to grow due to land damage and loss of natural resources.
Objects incorporated into my work have undergone some form of damage. Whether burned, fragmented, deflated, polluted, or made into debris, they stand as metaphors for the devastation of land and belongings, two physical embodiments associated with cultural identity. My work plays with the drama of decay, burning, flooding, etc. I desire to bring people to linger longer on the questions: “What if these were my belongings, my loved one or my life”, to instill a sense of ownership of one’s surroundings. Avoidable life-threatening, environmental events affect one’s quality of life, food, agriculture, air, and water. My pieces exhibit an orderly chaos to subtly and blatantly reflect the disasters and lasting negative effects on the largest scales. Disproportionately affected lower class and minority populations do not always have the option of migration and remaining unsafe is inevitable.