Site-specific moment in time
Sand, artificial poppies, beach umbrella, family.
I made this when I was young. 19. It's a portrait of the women I grew up with. It was an action, an attempt at creating a space for them where they could feel relaxed and free. It was an imitation, a replica, of an idyllic California landscape - a piece just for them. The matriarchs of my community were drug addicts and survivors. They carried much trauma, and as a child, my heart was simultaneously filled and broken for and by my beloved women. I concerned myself with futile attempts at taking care of them, protecting them, calming them. There was labor in the action of building this installation - carting truckloads of sand down the long train tracks in a wheel barrow load by load, shoveling a layer of white sand over the debris and dirt. Getting it to look just so. The site of the installation is behind a scrapyard in West Oakland along the train tracks I used to explore when I was growing up. A giant wave of debris looms in the background as they and I effort to ignore its presence. The wave that I so feared came and took the life of Kim (upper right, under the umbrella) a couple years after this photo. She lived and she mattered. She was playful and kind.