Plants sustained our ancestors and they continue to sustain us—through food, medicine, clothing, housing, to providing the very oxygen we breathe. Every plant is sacred and we could not survive without them. The first iteration of this series depicts the portraits of 14 artists, activists, and culture workers based in Yanaguana / San Antonio, TX that bring inspiration to the community through their art, leadership, and social justice work.
Within each painted portrait are natural plant materials that the person is connected to. The plants hold meaning based on ancestral connections, childhood memories, cultural roots, or the lessons that they bring. Some enjoy the plants in their gardens, herbal practices, spirituality, as food, or for their beauty alone. As we connect with our relative that is the land, we remember, we appreciate, and we reciprocate the gifts that she gives us.
The process of creating these works included photography, discussion, gardening, foraging, pressing, dehydrating, gluing, resining layers, and finally, painting. The figures sit on the surface, in the present. Their Plantcestors are behind them but remain a part of them.
Included are portraits of Karla Aguilar, Isabel Ann Castro, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, Kaldric Dow, Kimiya Denise Factory, Anthony Francis, Barbie Hurtado, Diana Lopez, Yadhira Lozano, Mikey Menchaca, Cassandra Parker-Nowicki, Vanessa Quezada, Mary Agnes Rodriguez, and Daisy Salinas. Thanks to each and every one of you for being a part of this project and many thanks to Galería E.V.A. for hosting.
Solo exhibition at Galería E.V.A. in 2023.
Plantcestors was funded in part by the City of San Antonio Individual Artist Grant and the ARPA 4 Arts Grant Program.