HOW HAS YOUR BACKGROUND AFFECTED YOUR LIFE/ WORK?
My background Has defined me in many ways. Being first generation "who am I" was a question that was always present. I had a really difficult time in elementary school where I was one of the few girls of color. It's fascinating how at that age you really are aware of difference and racism. These girls were so fucked up. I had serious insecurity problems about my skin, hair color and name. I wanted some typical white girl name. It was only while at home or back in Chile that I felt truly myself. Even so, being back in Chile I still didn't entirely feel like I was home either. There is no doubt an incredible force that draws me back to Chile and allows me to better understand my self but I have made my home in New York, on this land. Searching and understanding my roots is a huge part of my practice. I do this work mostly through conversations with my grandma, learning about the medicinal plants of the land and of the indigenous traditions. From a very young age I felt this connection to the land and to plants even while being in the city. This relationship has developed more deeply than I could have imagine when I was eight.
I see learning about plant medicine as a way of re empowering ourselves to become autonomous of our bodies and our health; become our own healers again and take back what colonization attempted to erase from our ancestors. This is applicable to all of us. It is also a bridge that can bring our communities together in a powerful way. What are our grandmothers remedies, las recetas caseras and the rituals that connect us to spirit and the energies that surround us. I am excited about creating spaces for these exchanges and awakening this power inside of us. The more we know about our body and the plants that grow around us, the more confident we can feel to care for ourselves and the people in our life. In a fragile and corrupt system like the one we live in I believe it is vital that we build systems of autonomy within our communities.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU (UPCOMING PROJECTS)?
An exciting project that I am currently working on is called Herban Cura. It is a seed project that brings together many of my passions and visions for how to transform our ways of life. Herban cura is the bridge between nature and the urban. So many of our troubles today exist because of western patriarchy, capitalism etc. With the demise of the feminine and two spirit power, the patriarchy rose into power, forgetting about community values and our connection to the earth. Herban cura is going to serve as a platform to bring workshops, events and services that connect us with ourselves (that we are nature even in a human built space). New York City rests on is nature, and has an important human history. Healing is necessary to all of us, especially in our communities. It is starting as a group of mostly LATINX people's who are bringing their magik to the creation process. We are thinking about what affordable services do we need for example the medicine maker, doula, body worker, peace maker, etc. i so often hear that this kind of stuff is only for white people. But it's not, this is also our history, we all hold ancestors who were either a curandera or went to one. Herban Cura is going to be that experiment. Building a community around healing and empowerment. We deserve to take back our knowledge about plant medicine, food, healing techniques. We will be making body products, hosting workshops to teach people to make their own, cooking classes, NYC plant identification and anything really that make us feel good and supported
Photo by: Dan Gutt