Fragments Series Came to Life

SOLO EXHIBIT PRESENTING THE SERIES, FRAGMENTS

I want to explain in my own words and extra details the inspiration of my Fragments series that I unveiled on November 5th. I think I can even do it better than my short speech that I gave at the opening night. I haven’t seen the video so I don’t know how horrible or good I did but as an artist and photographer my strengths don’t lie on public speaking but behind a camera or with a brush.

LeslieMGuzmanFragments
In case I didn’t have another solo photo opportunity

WHEN THE SERIES CAME TO LIFE

The series although in the works was untitled and with different ideas for the path to take with the series. In fact when I first started advertising the series I talked about it being two years in the works, which is from when I graduated. The more I worked on the series I realized it was a lot longer.

When I was putting my BFA exhibit together, my last semester of college I did go through my vault of photographs and came to the realization that there was a similar theme. I had so many photographs of doors, windows and entryways. I knew it had to have more meaning and decided to explore this theory further.

©LESLIE M. GUZMÁN 2012
©LESLIE M. GUZMÁN 2012. This piece created some time before my research for BFA exhibit, from a photograph taken on my first trip to Guatemala.

I went back to my sophomore year of college to one of my favorite college classes, English or Composition I. I do enjoy writing a lot, as you can tell with the blogs. The english paper assignment consisted of writing about an impactful time in our lives, one that we could remember with details and emotions, no matter when it happened. I picked a rather deep one and kind of personal time, the time when I immigrated to the United States with my mother at age four.

lesliemguzmanfragments
The invitation created by Moderno Designs

I could remember pieces of when I left my Grandparents home, holding my mother’s hand and a stuffed animal on the other. I could even see the street block as we walked away and looking back to see my family. Although few memories they were filled with certain details. I put a rough draft together and went to my mother’s house to discuss it. She was amazed that I could remember things that happened when I was so young. She told me I was correct on my memories and of course she filled in gaps like what happened to that stuffed animal that I was carrying in my hand. It was stolen on our journey along with many of our other belongings. I did get an A on that paper and my professor gave some excellent feedback on my story.

So the Fragments series was starting to take life at that moment in my life, yet I didn’t know it would be years before I brought it life in my art.

TITLE FRAGMENTS & WHY

There was a time I wanted a word translated into K’iche for the title of my show. Kíche is a dialect in Guatemala. That was before the series took a life of its own and I knew it was going to be broken down into parts. Oh yes this is part one of the series. If you enjoyed my Fragments series you will have to follow along and see when the next part will happen. Not anytime soon of course, my mind and body are on vacation as of the opening night & reception ended.

When I looked at the pieces as a whole I realized that what inspired the entire show where the first pieces that were created with that college paper in mind. Those pieces or glimpses of memories at age four. They were fragments of memories that had a lasting impression in my life, so much that as an adult I was still diving further to understand.

FIRST MEMORIES EVOLVED

I’ve returned to Guatemala numerous times now but my first trip took many years to happen. My mother immigrated to this country when there were no laws for Guatemalans to obtain residency easily. I never asked my mother while she was alive if she had applied for a visa before we left Guatemala so we could have migrated legally. So that part of the story will be left unknow.

Before I returned to Guatemala I knew practically nothing about my country. I grew up in a home with a Mexican step father and Mexican traditions. I had to ask my mother to make special Guatemalan plates or to tell me about Guatemala. Then in High School I would meet my first Guatemalan friend, she had recently arrived to the United States so to her Guatemala was fresh in her mind. She would come to teach me about my country and culture. At least the parts she knew at her young age.

flyer-lmguzman
Institute of Hispanic Culture of Houston created this online flyer with the support of the Houston Arts Alliance & Guatemalan Consulate.

Leaving my country I left so much behind. I left the culture, the food, the history and even the corruption the country has experienced for years. To me it was all fascinating and wanted to know more. That resulted in lot of research and trips back to Guatemala.

The more I dug the more I realized there was so much I didn’t learn about my country because I wasn’t raised there. Simple things that I should have known but since I left so young I wouldn’t come to find out until now. I encourage any person born in another country to not neglect their culture but rather embrace it and learn the most they can about it even if they no longer live there.

This is how the Fragments series was broken into my first memories, what I left behind and what I didn’t learn.

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READ: Recent Guatemalan research trip & inspiration

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