My experience as an immigrant has shaped my artistic practice in a profound way. When I lost the comfort of my familiar environment, my mother tongue, and my home in Spain, my career as an artist began. As I grappled with the notion of female identity in a patriarchal culture and my own identity loss, my work shifted to reflect the permutable nature of these concepts and the impermanence of life itself.
For the past two decades, I have embarked in an investigation of space and its architectural qualities, including history; function; and, foremost, the human interactions around it. The piece Stop, Look, Listen is an unusual "way-finding" system for the Spencer Museum of Art (Lawrence, KS), made up of signage and audio tours that connect the outdoor public space with the collection inside. The outdoor component is a set of yellow warning signs that unexpectedly greet viewers in the museum’s parking lot, while mirroring actual pieces in the collection. Each piece has a unique audio piece created with community participation. Ultimately, the work challenges the assumption of the museum as the single authoritative voice when it comes down to interpreting works of art.
My research is intensive and unfolds through site visits, conversations with the community, and the topic of investigation at hand. In my recent work, I have made connections between visual /spatial patterns and socio-cultural patterns to create situations that generate dialogue and participation. My project Breaking Patterns (The Game Of Building Community) uses board games with traditional Andalusian patterns to invite viewers to play in Moroccan public cafés. The piece is a metaphor for relationships, and provides an ongoing opportunity to examine societal values and challenge the predominance of male presence in public space.
In my work, I seek a balance between poetic materiality and intellectual inquiry. My choice of materials varies depending on the project and I find an endless fascination with the inherent fragility of ephemeral materials. For instance, melting ice embodies the loss of identity and memory, and Moroccan spices serve to evoke the multi-sensory experience of the street markets and the fleeting nature of life. The piece Isn’t It You, Pressing Against My Lips? is a love poem cast in chocolate that functions as an act of communion in a secular way. Here, viewers are invited to literally feast upon the work, wavering between desire and transgression.
I see my artistic practice as an opportunity to connect, examine, and question our assumptions about all that we take for granted. I situate my work within the realm of engagement and social practice where dialogue, process, and participation lead to new insights. Working with contextual and interdisciplinary approaches presents me with exciting opportunities that challenge my own views and make it worthwile to live the life of an artist.