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Still playing with fire

Song: Crayon Sun - Latin Playboys

Still Playing With Fire" a long term lens-based, multimedia project about my own family and our individual and communal history within Southern New Mexico. Through a pseudo-documentary approach to photographing my family and the land around Las Cruces, I interrogate the layers of generational trauma, and the cycles of violence and suffering that have followed us in context of dominant narratives stemming from white supremacy in Colonial Spain, Imperial Mexico all the way through the current occupation of the land by the United States of America. The use of photography acts as a means of documentation, memorialization and in some ways self perpetuation of internalized narratives of violence and trauma. By creating photographic images and by recontextualizing archival family photographs I both assert the inherent value of my own family narrative against the backdrop of history, as well as creating documents of the systemic and self fulfilling trials of my family and community from a singular perspective - my own.

Through photography I navigate the layered and cyclical nature of trauma, through the examination of ongoing hardships within my family. Beginning with the death of my paternal grandfather, an enrolled Agua Caliente Cahuilla man, in the 70s after he was shot by Las Cruces Police officers while in custody, to the murder of my uncle in 2019, and through the recent death of my little cousin to overdose in 2020. I make this work as a means of tracking, documenting, interpreting and working through the enormous pain that has lived in my people and family for generations and is passed down with every new birth. By freezing time through image making, I bring into focus specific moments, fractions of seconds from the vast expanse of time, in order to call to attention the through line of pain, and to make the point that we have been and we are Still Playing With Fire.

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