Early in life, I had an eagerness to express myself creatively – through dance, sports, drawing, words, writing, and eventually with a camera. At the heart of my intentions was a great desire to be a good relative, to be of service in some way, to strengthen relationships, and to provide positive affirmation to others.
I have always loved the craft of poetry. The first poem I wrote was in honor of my maternal grandmother, Paula, who passed away when I was around 7 years old. As I grew older, I wrote poems about the communities I’m part of – fighting for justice, †the beauty of my neighborhood, the death of more family, my first heartbreaks. Eventually, my artistic expression expanded into new areas and I began moving my camera as I would my pen.
When creating images, I like to bring the same care, attention to detail, lyricism and depth that I bring to writing poetry and songs. Every frame is intentional, meaningful and connected to a larger conversation of Indigenous self-determination, sovereignty, healing and love letters to our past, present and future ancestors. I try to plant seeds of Indigenous joy and abundance that can connect us all to our First Mother and to one another.
With this series of photos I offer you a glimpse of my family, loved ones, friends and collaborators, who co-created expressions of kinship, resilience and strength. We are holding one another close. As Indigenous People, we are powerful, innovative and reciprocal people.
Indigenous teachings and knowledge systems deepen creative possibilities and promote wellness in all our relationships. We can lean mindfully into these principles and into one another’s sovereignty to co-create spaces and art that bring about healing. I look forward to the stories we will tell together: your lived experience and existence is powerful, a universe of its own that deserves love and the warmest embrace.