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Through my work I always hope to tell a story about my personal experiences as a Hispanic woman. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of New Mexico and my family has been in northern New Mexico for over 10 generations. My work comes from my memories of growing up in a large extended family and my favorite subjects to paint are the people and traditions of northern New Mexico. Both my father and grandfather are artists, so I grew up surrounded by work. I have always loved art and have wanted to become an artist for as long as I can remember.
My primary medium is acrylic on canvas. I have also enjoyed using acrylic on wood as well. As a self-taught artist, I really fight “looking at” something when I’m painting or sketching. I love just allowing my work to evolve organically. My preliminary sketches are done based mostly on things that inspire me: the people and traditions of my culture.
My piece titled, “La Partera” or “The Midwife,” came from my own family history. Growing up I had heard stories about my great grandmother Carmelita Anaya, or as she was lovingly called “Mieta”. She was a midwife and curandera in Galisteo, New Mexico. She was born in 1884 and raised 10 children of her own and delivered most of the babies in Galisteo at that time. When her daughter, Reynalda (my grandmother), would go into labor in Santa Fe, she would come from Galisteo to deliver her babies. In my piece, “La Partera” I show two portraits hanging on the wall. The one on the left is the wedding picture of my grandparents. The other is the daguerreotype of Mieta and my great grandfather Serapio Anaya when they were young. I saw this painting hanging in my grandmother’s bedroom my whole life. To the right stands Mieta holding her medicine bag ready to leave the new mother and father. I have a mortar and pestle on the night table to symbolize the herbs Mieta used to heal people. She has used the herbs to make a chamomile tea for the new mother to drink. The father has come from the fields to hold his new baby and give thanks for the safety of his wife. Of course, a cross presides over the family and the mother clasps her rosary.
In closing, it is in honor of my grandma, Reynalda Almeida that I paint. She lived in a little adobe casita near Canyon Road in Santa Fe. This was when the area was considered “the barrio” and not the “high rent district” it is now today. She always had a pot simmering on the stove and open arms ready for her children and grandchildren. Family meant everything to her and she instilled that in the rest of us. I hope that through my work I convey what I believe to be true of the Hispanic culture: generosity of spirit and home, love of family and traditions, and pride in who you are and where you came from.