© 2015 Tessie Barrera-Scharaga. Website designed by Gabrielle Scharaga

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The Cartography of Longing

Mixed Media Assemblage incorporating painting, paper, and found objects.

2013

 

Home for me has always been a hard spot to pinpoint. My parents were both foreign students from South and Central America when they met in the U.S. Falling in love, and subsequently marrying, put our family on multiple trajectories throughout the American continent. Though I was born in New York, I zigzagged between countries and cities many times over while growing up.

 

Arriving at each new destination meant having to adjust to a different setting, people, ways of doing things, and manners of speaking. It required a lot of explaining, beginning with who I was and where I came from. As a child I attended five different elementary schools. My experience of being the foreigner was repeated many times over as I advanced through each grade. At some point I realized that I had a talent for memorizing songs and poems, and that this got me into each of my new teacher’s good graces. Though I was extremely shy and introverted, I became the child who always volunteered to sing or recite at school events.

 

This body of work acts as a journal from that particular time in my life. Each painting alludes to a region of the continent where my family lived and traveled.  The lyrics of children’s songs delineate the journeys taken. Though these experiences left me with an expansive concept of home as we moved from one country to another, I continually longed for people, places, and things that were very dear to me, and that were by force, left behind.