Si Se Puede
In my creative practice I use color and texture to record the ordinary marks found in the natural and man-made environments I travel through. This artwork celebrates a moment in my personal history. For the first time in my life, I made a decision to publicly stand with my Latino “brothers and sisters” and shout with them “Si Se Puede!” (Yes, It can be done!).
February 18, 2016 was a cold, rainy day in Madison, Wisconsin. The capitol grounds were covered with a light layer of snow. I joined thousands of people who came to protest anti-immigration bills. We called it “A day without Latinos”. I had a roll of bright pink duck tape, scissors and a wide tip fabric marker inside my coat pocket. In a plastic bag I carried seven yards of 100% white cotton duck cloth. The fabric was cut in two strips. On one of them I wrote “SB533 STEP ON IT” and on the other one “AB450 STEP ON IT”. I laid the two pieces of fabric on the capitol’s sidewalk with the help of my Latino friends. Several hours later, the fabric went from a pristine white and clean color to a muddy, dark and wet appearance. Thousands of protesters had recorded their participation in this event by leaving their footprints on the cloth. Months later, this cloth went through the transformative process of paper making: it was cut and beaten into pulp, re-emerging as sheets of paper carrying evidence of that day on the capitol square. I finished the work with a repeat pattern, block printed with natural dyes. It has become a new textile, stained and marked with layers of experience both joyful and challenging; a work that bears witness to a powerful moment in my life as an artist and an engaged citizen.