ORIGINAL IN PRIVATE COLLECTION. Limited Edition print available.
22" x 15". (Original was done in acrylic on canvas.)
This piece brings back many memories. I was born in La Paz, El Salvador, in 1983. As a small child I loved home. I remember mom Gloribel, Grandfather Dario, Grandma TIla and Cousin Rene. I remember catching fireflies with Rene. I remember playing in front of the house with my other cousin Diana. I remember going to the cemetery after my cousin Diana died. I remember messing with my neighbor's dogs and falling into a rock as I ran away. I remember Grandpa taking me to the mountains and showing me how the work is done. Those are some of the good family memories.
Then there was the war. A truck of soldiers coming to recruit. The looked at me and let me go because I was too little. I was 3 or 4 years old. Mom and I hid under the bed all night as gunfire was going on, AK-47 rounds and bombs. Mom and I would walk the dirt road the next day and there would be dead bodies laid out all down the road. We lived in a village with rock roads. Each night villagers carried a large wooden cross from one house to another. I remember watching that as live rounds were going on. The women’s screams are hard to forget.
This war was what would lead my mother and auntie to decide to leave. I remember holding my baby sister only 9 months old in my arms as my mom got on a bus to come to the US. I can only imagine the pain mom must have endured and what she must still go through now as I write these words in prison.
As far back as I can remember, the violence and displacement made me question everything. Ultimately I’d understand that El Salvador was but another proxy war between superpowers, between capitalist and communist powers. So I call this piece Dirty Laundry because of the way facts are silenced. Why did it happened? Who was involved? This war has affected a whole generation.
Home and family were beautiful but the violence, separation and migration turned a beautiful home full of love into a memory which brought anger and sadness to mind. It’s taken me 33 years to finally come to grips with everything that happened. I paint to confront these memories and to hopefully bring awareness to the world of what went on - and how what happened continues to affect the country and people of El Salvador.