Masks of the Quotidian – Extended until January 31, 2018

In 2017, I had the privilege of working with two very talented visual artists, Keka Marzagao and Viviane Aquino. Here’s a bit more about this very special project, which you can still check out until January 31st, 2018, at the Plaxall Gallery in Long Island City.

Masks of the Quotidian examines issues of identity and representation of Brazilian women living in New York City’s largest borough: Queens.

Inspired by interviews with five local Brazilian women, Camila Santos’  printed monologues explore the “masks” these women wear in order to integrate into American society. These texts challenge the troubling and simplistic portrayal of Brazilian women in American society and media in general. Viviane Aquino’s wearable sculptures are a response to the themes and imagery present in each story. She has transformed everyday objects and materials into masks incorporating iconic symbols that straddle Brazilian and American cultures. Using the monologues and masks as a starting point, Keka Marzagão’s photographs explore the complex identities of Brazilian women, both as immigrants and as females. By taking the photographs out of the wall and into space through the use of hanging transparencies, Marzagão transforms the gallery into a multilayered installation evoking the plurality of the women’s experiences.

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Collectively, these works deal with Brazilian women’s subjectivities while confronting the current universal challenge of misrepresentation and erasure of identities.”

Happy, happy for Leila Ortiz!

Girl Life

When you get home after a long day at work and you open the mail and in the envelope, you find a poetry chapbook… But not any chapbook: it’s Leila’s chapbook! Leila–one of your oldest NYC friends. You met her in Coney Island and talked for six hours straight. When you think about that day three things come to mind: corn, beer, and sand. You’ve had the best Easter lunch at her parents’ house in Park Slope. You tell her things about yourself that you wouldn’t dare tell anyone. She was the only friend who shared your “soap opera phase” and watched “Avenida Brasil” with you. You love to watch her dance. And you laugh and laugh and laugh anytime you’re together. At times, you laugh at things that should actually make you cry–but that’s a defense mechanism (you think) you have in common. And for the past twelve years, you’ve read and admired her work. You’ve cheered her on during her MFA. You’ve seen her voice take shape on the page. And what a voice…!

In Arabic and Hebrew, Leila means “night” and you, you have always been a night person. Night hours are for writing. For sleeping. For eating. For dancing. For laughing. And Leila sure can dance. And laugh. You are so happy for her, that all you can do is blow the world some kisses. Some very happy kisses.

Girl life2

Congratulations and rock on, Leila! I can’t wait to read “Girl Life”.  Check out Leila’s poems at:

Scent & Memory

I was at the Brazilian supermarket in Astoria when  I saw it: the soap my grandmother used to buy when I was growing up in Recife. Sea sand and sargasso. Fluorescent green flowerscent. Grandma’s red nails. Crushed rose petals in a Bible. Do flowers have souls? I keep wondering if this little box  will become my madeleine. Alma de flores