EQ in 2015: Homecoming

 Hello World! An update about Eternal Queens Crew in 2015! We’ve been working from the heart this year and are ready to serve up some new fresh flows to feed ya soul + and quench the thirst for the Eternal Queendom (you thirsty?? I know you are!).

Claire and I have been collaborating again with one of our favorite soul sistren Laila Espinoza on a new art show: Home Is Where the Art Is.

The theme of the show, HOME, invites us to collectively explore…What does home really mean? In our increasingly complex and multicultural global community, how do we maintain a sense of home-ness? Where is that? Who is there? What do we do with it? How/What do we create there? Is our home life art?

The show and these questions are matched with our Art Residence Manifesto:

In response to the increasingly growing gap between art and life as well as the the limited opportunities for under-represented artists in accessing spaces for art making and exhibiting, we establish the home as art space.

Because we don’t wait for opportunity, but instead create our own opportunities with whatever means and resources we have readily available to us,

Because we see everyday objects (natural and man-made) as meaningful art materials,

Because our homes are not just for living but for creating as well,

Because our home is the studio where creative ideas are born out of everyday life experiences,

Everyday activities and experiences shall not be separate from art.

With that in mind, Myself, Claire, Laila, and her son Nyanga, worked for 2 months together to build an installation within her home. Most importantly, we gathered. Spent time together. Cooked together, ate together and drank together, we danced, had family time, and allowed for unrestricted play and unraveled a free and unbridled unrestrictive creative process to ensue.

It sounds simple. And it a way it is. Presence with each other IS simple. In our increasingly digitized world, we become separate, alone, and as artists, sometimes our works can consume us. Our studios, depending on where they are can be isolating, and even cave like.

 

But at our artist residency in Laila’s home, that was opposite. We had no rules, everyone who came in to be a part of our gathering is an artist too. From her 6 year old son, who is a visionary painter already, to our partners, neighbors, and friends who would pop in for a moment. Hot pancakes and food would be shared and a paintbrush offered to their hand. When we create together, we heal together. It’s unavoidable. We become indestructible.

The PROCESS was ELEVATING, VISIONARY, ENERGIZING, and REVOLUTIONARY. We laughed until our sides ached, and slowly with each stroke created a friction that stands in opposition of the institutionalized narratives of “high art” “gallery art”. Our gallery is at home, where the family is, for the family, for our community to understand, feel, and reap the benefits from.

I remember Laila saying, “If my family can’t understand it, there is no point in making it for me”. Its an important question, who do you make your art for? Why?

At times I felt as if we were the many stars twinkling in galaxies. Shineing, burning up in intense heat, chaos and beauty all raveled into one. Deep connection, creative expansion, and collaboration with friends is art, it is home, those ideals don’t need to be separated and shouldn’t be.

Claire was our documentarian, historian, and captured our process on camera. She is putting together a short video to recap our stories. More to come soon J.

For me, the most important part of this was to breaking out of my habitual creative patterns and build with womxn who have their own unique styles. While Claire, Laila, and I all share passion for art that celebrates women, and we all include themes of spirituality and feminism in our work, we each bring a powerful piece of the puzzle to the whole.unnamed-1

So to work along side these two queens was a blessing, they are my teachers. Nyanga, Laila’s 6 year old is my teacher. His freedom and limitless expression is so perfect. This process was like a full circle, returning to the parts of creating that STARTED me to create in the first place—being with friends, having fun, and having no limitations. A childlike and playful mind is a valuable asset in this life that can be way too serious sometimes.

Having them mirror my work and finding commonalities, sharing stories, and influencing each other is a gift.

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IMPORTANT PROCESS POINT: to create with people you care about. To break out of boxes of ‘traditional art’, to challenge the idea of what/where art is/should be, and make your home a sacred space for connection and creating. In our hyper speed 24/7 culture where NOT stopping to connect in person is the norm, its crucial that we create and hold MORE spaces for each other to make art, build friendships, and come together.

I’d love to hear your ideas on what home is for you and how you create art in the home! Feel free to share in comments! Peace & Love my brothers and sisters!

HOME IS WHERE THE ART IS OPENS ON SATURDAY, APRIL 18th IN EAST OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA. MORE VIDEO AND PICTURES TO COME SOON!

-Samantha
Eternal Queens

Honoring Christopher Rose + Painting Veterans Alley

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“Veterans are the light at the tip of the candle, illuminating the way for the whole nation. If Veterans can achieve awareness, transformation, understanding and peace, they can share with the rest of society the realities of war. And they can teach us how to make peace with ourselves and each other, so we never have to use violence to resolve conflicts again.”
– Thicht Nhat Hanh

Today marks the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks which killed nearly 3,000 people, and remains the single largest loss of life from a foreign ‘attack’ on American soil. We look to the after math of this tragic and controversial event, and see how it was kindling for a raging political and military wildfire, leading up to the U.S. Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Today, it is estimated that over 6,700 U.S. deaths occurred as a result of both wars, with much higher numbers for those wounded or injured. In rememberance, Eternal Queens honors the lives of those who died in war, and takes a look at the artistic expression of able bodied and disabled veterans who returned from the harsh realities of the war.

EQ went out to San Francisco Veteran’s Alley to show support and tune into the mural project that has been evolving in Shannon Alley over the past 2 years. We met up with Amos (below), one of the mural project founders who invited myself and my partner, Dino, out to paint a commemoration piece in the Alley. Amos, a veteran of the U.S. Naval Submarine service, realized this mural project when he was photographing homeless vets (a.k.a. Angels) at night, in the Tenderloin, a neighborhood where many homeless vets reside in the streets suffering from the aftermath of war trauma, mental health issues, and addiction.  This inspired the birth of a massive, one-block long piece of living, healing artwork. The alley vividly showcases the voices, struggles, and expression of veterans, regardless of their discharge status, gender, time served, or sexual orientation.

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Peace From Amos: In front of a mural in progress

As we arrived, there was one artist painting a wall which read, “CHELSEA MANNING: Wikileaks Whistle Blower + LGBTQ HERO.”  I soon find out that he is a veteran just as most, if not all of the other artists who have painted in the alley are. You can hear the passion in their voice when they speak about current events, the war, service, and of loss.

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An overwhelming number of people have directly or indirectly experienced loss or know someone who has lost a friend or loved one as a result of war. My partner’s cousin, Christopher Rose, was in fact the very first Iraq war casualty from San Francisco back in June of 2006. Christopher, a Filipino-American known for his smile and devotion to his family, was out one day on a regular duty patrol when he stopped and climbed out of his Humvee to remove some barbed wire blocking the road. As he was doing this, he stepped on a buried explosive device that detonated and killed him.  He was only 21 years old.

Christopher D. Rose would smile and remind his two older siblings how pretty they were. A kind hearted soul, he is missed greatly.

Christopher D. Rose would always flash his smile and remind his two older siblings how pretty they were.

That day we painted in Chris’ honor…

Showing love for Chris and EQ: The Pigeon to the left chills out with us the whole time.

Showing love for Chris and EQ: The Pigeon to the left chills out with us the whole time.

“The first casualty of war is TRUTH”

“The first casualty of war is TRUTH”

As we painted, kids walk through the alley and ask about the many pieces of art. I hoped that it got them thinking about the consequences of war in a different way than the fictionalized dramas that are projected to them through the media. The art in this alley provides an alternative to the images, movies, television, and video games that glorify warfare, militarism, and violence. It brings awareness to the reality of war, illuminates the fact that service in the military isn’t as entertaining as playing Call of Duty at their house or watching their favorite violent action movie.

As you walk up and out of the alley, it takes only a block or so before you see an ad for the flavor of the week role-playing video game. I hope that the message that people absorb by walking through the alley day by day serves as a buffer to these types of visual assaults. May it grab the attention of who ever needs to see it and get them thinking more about the control that media has in feeding the military-industrial complex. Some people may not like it, they may think it’s an ‘eye-sore’, I say- it’s only sore because the truth really hurts.

The conversations about the reality of war and violence and its impact on our selves, culture, families, economy, environment and collective psyche are important and they are healing. That’s why this Veteran’s Mural Project is a gem in the concrete jungle of San Francisco. It takes back a public space that houses parts of a collective wound and initiates meaningful conversation about one of the most relevant issues of our time. It gives veterans who have painful but truthful stories about the harsh reality of their experience a space to speak their mind and transforms the space into something more positive.

DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE: What narratives do we REALLY want our media to propagate? What role is it playing now in our collective health?

DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE: What narratives do we REALLY want our media to propagate? What role is it playing now in our collective health?

Today, I am disheartened and angry to be witnessing the beginning of yet another war in Syria as the U.S. government continues to lobby to gain support for the use of military force as ‘retribution’ for what it says was a deadly chemical weapons attack.  What will the toll be for the soldiers, the people, our community here in U.S. to get involved in yet another war? What wounds does this create for our future generation mentally, physically, and spiritually? What do you have to say about it?

May we remember today on 9/11 that peace is in every step we take… We have the power to stop the violence in our lives and help to Stop the violence worldwide. 

1 Love and Peace to All in Mind, Body, and Spirit

Samantha
EternalQueens

SHE HEALS SERIES: UPDATE!

Hello to all members of our digital family!!

ImageExciting news! The Eternal Queens crew just returned back to the bay from an awesome trip to Southern California, where we were ON A STUNNING SET, filming an all original intro to our latest artist interview for the SHE HEALS SERIES.

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For those who don’t know, the SHE HEALS SERIES is an ongoing project produced by Eternal Queens that spotlights local Bay Area Women who are using ART as a tool to heal themselves, others, and the earth. We are paying respect to the groundbreaking work that is being done in the Bay Area to uplift and inspire a more healthy, happy, and whole future.

Our latest interview will spotlight Oakland based artist Laila Espinoza. Gifted in the arts of storytelling, painting, and community based work, Laila is a modern day sage, bridging the spheres of arts, transformation and healing. Her art is deeply soulful, and touches on the collective experiences, challenges, and evolutionary processes of both the eternal and modern day woman.

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Eternal Queens is happy to have had the pleasure of sitting down with her to hear about her story and latest inspirational projects. Please, STAY TUNED for her upcoming amazing interview with her which will also feature an all original cinematic introduction brought to you fresh from the EQ crew.

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Learn more about Laila Espinoza and her transformational artwork at her website: http://lailaespinoza.org/

1 Love!
Eternal Queens

A Product of His Environment

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Check this powerful spoken word piece put together by Youth Speaks poet Joshua Merchant (Oakland, CA) and the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations about the deeply intertwined relationship between environment and health. In this short but well spoken video Josh tells the story of 13 year old boy named James, and illustrates the harsh realities of our broken food system.

These is a really important issue for me: Food justice, healing through food, nutrition, equity are all part of a bigger picture of environmental trauma that results in health disparities. As a young person, I didn’t grow up knowing much about healthy eating. My family all ate what I call a SAD Diet a.k.a the Standard American Diet. We didn’t know about food and healing and the direct relationship between diet and dis-ease. It wasn’t until I started teaching myself about the role of food in mental and physical health, that I started seeing the ways that poor diet really messed up my own ability to function at my highest level. So, for me, this is personal, it’s political, it’s environmental and it’s something that I care deeply about. I’m lucky to have access to healthy food now, and to be able to be a part of solutions to this problem in my work through science, through organizing and through art.

In this video, James soldiers through the the day to day stress of living in his neighborhood, facing hunger, violence, and over access to junk food, which are only a few of the pieces that will shape his mind, body, and soul, and increase his risk of developing Type 2 diabetes up to 20%.

Poetry heals, promotes health, and spreads awareness! Share this message with your community to look at the BIGGER PICTURE and open the conversation about Type 2 Diabetes.

“He won’t be able to differentiate
Corporate farmers from drug dealers,
similarities are too strong,
selling harmful products to innocent people
for extensive profits,
but like crack – the dollar menu is cheap,
the ingredients are addicting,
he keeps buying.”

Inocente: The voice of an artist coming home

inocenteInocente, though only 15 when this documentary was made, speaks with a wisdom, knowledge, and deep understanding of how her art is a doorway to personal and emotional freedom. She paints the colors of her life, sharing and transforming the struggles of being a young, homeless, Latina, from an undocumented and abusive family into beautifully expressive works of healing art.

Her creativity, passion, and determination is a force that has helped to turn her life around, sending roots down deep to ground herself in her own unique identity and find herself in a place where she can finally feel at home. In the fashion of a true healing artist, as she heals herself, she heals her family, and all who come into contact with her or her canvases and see her beauty.

Check this powerful short doc, that  is the first ever crowd funded short to win an Oscar. Watch and be touched as Inocente heals herself through her paint.