Tuesday, February 5, 2008

María Guzmán, Moving In

She was born in Italy, his father is from Colombia, his mother from Peru, and she lives in Houston, Texas. Her installation 'Moving In' is currently open at the Lawndale Art Center. María explores the emotions that arise every time one moves to a new place. She impersonates globalization at its best and in her work, and thoughts, resonate the way immigration is shaping our world. This is a conversation I had with her February 5th on her work, her background and what's like to be a "South American girl" born in super-trendy Milan living in the heart of the Boho Houstonian neighborhood of Montrose, and lacking a Mother Language, as she reveals in the interview.
Here's a little bit of an introduction to Maria's conversation:

What’s your mother language?

That’s kind of a tough question. I learned Italian first, and I spoke and wrote very good Italian. At that time, my parents spoke Spanish, and I would understand Spanish but didn’t speak Spanish. Then I moved to Colombia and went to a bilingual school, so I kept my Italian and learned to speak and write Spanish, still not very good. So, my mother language, I don’t know anymore. My Italian is slacking a little bit since I don’t speak Italian with anybody, and also my vocabulary is one of a 14-year old. And then my Spanish is very good but I think is not grammatically correct all the time, and I speak Spanish only with my parents. An then, my English is not perfect either, I have an accent and I still make mistakes every now and then, so I don’t think I have a mother language.

Do you think that is something that has, in any way, to do with your work?

Definitely. My work Moving In is about trying to find a space, a place, that is my own. I don’t feel at home quite anywhere. When I moved to Colombia, I wasn’t really Italian, even though I was born in Italy. When I got to Colombia I felt like: yeah, I’ll be at home, finally, and then everybody treated me like I was foreign. I had an accent, again. So, it’s not just home there yet. And then, when I moved to the US, definitely not home, it’s a completely different language. So, this work is about trying to find a space that is my own. I try to deal with all the emotions that come every time I move. Some of these emotions are anxiety, fear. You move to a new place, you’re lost and you have to find your bearings, and then also excitement, there’s a lot of excitement when you move, it’s an adventure. There’s a lot of curiosity and expectations that change yourself, change your future.

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