yasmin hernandez welcome

 





Angel Guardián Installation

2004
Mixed Media Installation
Patrias, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY

I designed this altar to feature "Angel Guardián", the portrait of my mother in law. Incorporating elements from my family's espiritismo tradition, the altar is draped in white fabrics and has white flowers and a candle to bring light to her spirit. We believe that spirits that have passed must be surrounded with light to help elevate them and allow them to progress in their journeys. My mother-in-law was a devout Catholic so I included the rosary above her image.

On the table are various offerings for her, such as Colombian pan de queso, empanadas and a buñuelo. I also placed a can of Colombiana (a brand of Cola Champagne) and a brown paper bag filled with grapes. As a child she always carried a brown paper bag with grapes inside. Featured in the collage is a black and white photo of her walking with her mom in Armenia, Colombia. She's holding her mom's hand and in the other hand, she's carrying her bag of grapes. I also included other things that inspire the memory of Colombia. Little flags adorn the altar, a typical Colombian chivita, a typical casita, and the precooked cornmeal used to make Colombian arepas.

One thing I learned in my experience with creating these altars is that the conditions in which they are to be exhibited must provide for a sacred space. They are in fact altars and are not meant to be merely decorative, or art for art's sake. I am therefore becoming much more selective in where I choose to create these altars. Patrias became a perfect host for this piece because Paulina Perez-Bemporad, owner of Patrias, who is also Colombiana, helped evoke the memory of my mother-in-law the first time she came over to my apartment to discuss this exhibition. During this visit, she allowed me to discuss my experience with my mother-in-law's cancer. Her warmth really allowed things to fall into place as I realized that this would be the perfect piece to feature in the show. Throughout the month long exhibit, Paulina changed the water for the flowers, and maintained the food offerings on the altar. So I have to thank her for making it all possible and for providing an opportunity for myself, my husband and his family to honor Tina's memory and legacy.