Aztlan In Our Hands

When the historic Univision building in downtown San Antonio came down in 2013, local artists were asked to paint one of their preserved doors. Behind me is the door I painted, which to me depicts life in San Antonio. Here La Virgencita shows us, in the reflection of her hands images of the land on both sides of the Rio Bravo/Grande. Both images are the same. This works shows us we are all living in the same world, at the same time, on both sides of the river, en la madre tierra. Y, La Virgen has worked this land and continues the work it, with her two hands, en Mexico, en Aztlan and San Antonio. This art piece now lives in the current Univision building. I still stand by its message that we are all of one people, one earth, one land, flowing together on both sides of the river, and we are all responsible for doing the work of keeping us all in harmony, with the work of our two hands.

Aztlan In Our Hands
Artwork by Anel I. Flores
Acrylic on Wood Door
2013

When You Bring Back The Dead, I Will Wear A Dress

Image

There are only three things I remember about our short two years in Dallas: 1. Being sent home from preschool for eating the wallpaper off the classroom corner I was sent too for talking too much, 2. Jumping off of our fireplace, onto the vacuum and crashing my head into a stone corner bathed in blood, and 3. Wearing this dress.

My mami made me wear this dress, de Jalisco, in preparations for a folklorico dance class she had enrolled me in. I was four years old, and she stood me in front of our new house for over an hour, trying to get me to smile. She sang. She waved. She fake laughed and even guffawed. She danced, and even called my sister to try and joke with me but nothing worked. Nothing inside of me was charged with happiness. Our whole family had just been plucked from Brownsville, TX and transported to Dallas; ten long, flat, boring hours from mi primer amor, my grandma Olivia. I was miserable without her and Dallas was cold, something I was not used too. The dress was itchy and my body felt trapped. All together, the days before this picture was taken was a recipe for disaster.

Looking back at the photo, I can see the beauty my mami wanted to capture, the cultura she wanted to awaken and preserve in me, especially so far from our bordertown. I can see the tenderness she used to approach me and I can see the beauty of the danza of my ancestors. She posed me perfectly, with my hands on the dress like I was about to break out in a full on baile, but I wouldn’t smile. For an entire hour, I wouldn’t smile. As the story goes, she wasted a few polaroids on my frown, until she finally said, “I’m sending this one to your grandma!” And, I smiled just like that.

Fifteen years ago my grandma died. She never saw the smile I wear today, comfortable in my butch body, in love with Erika, raising two brilliant young women, reading my sexy lesbiana stories to grandmas and grandkids, all in pants and button downs, with a skin tight fade – never a dress. But, I’d wear this dress again, if I had a chance to share with her a polaroid of how I turned out today, but only then would I wear a dress.

Anel I. Flores
(c) Sept 10 2018

Women’s Advocate of the Year 2018

Gracias to UTSA’s Women’s Studies Institute, for Awarding me Women’s Advocate of the Year. The first time I produced Empanada, with an all woman cast, crew and team, was on the UTSA stage during Women’s History Month. They have always done “work that matters,” and I commit to continuing to doing the same through my writing, art and activism. Thank you again, UTSA. It is an honor to be recognized by such a fine program of amazing people.

New York Foundation for the Arts Immigrant Artist Mentor Program 2018

nyfa immigrant mentor program

Thrilled to be chosen as a mentor with the Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program. I have been paired with Maria Linan, to offer her one-on-one support in the sustainability of her creativity.

Gracias to the New York Foundation for the Art (NYFA), the Ford Foundation, NALAC, Say Si and all other partnering organizations and collaborators.

About: Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program pairs immigrant artists working in all disciplines with artist mentors who provide one-on-one support for their mentee, guiding them to achieve specific goals and providing them with broader access to urban cultural centers through an exchange of ideas, resources and experiences.

NYFA’s Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program is the only known program of its kind in the United States, and has provided close to 200 NYC-based immigrants with mentorship, community, and exposure for their work since it was founded in 2007. The New York program includes sessions in Visual/Multidisciplinary Art, Performing and Literary Arts, and Social Practice.

Say What Now:

Panelists Anel Flores, Jamaal Alejandro, and organizers from SATX4 will break down the question, “What is making you ask . . . Say What Now?!” We’ll be talking social justice and how to hold onto hope. The event will also feature performances by, Dre Lavelle, Mr.Composition (Kevin Prince), Kinyo and Veronica Leno with closing remarks by Laura Thompson.

#BlackWritersOfSanAntonio
#DreamWeek2018
#Dream WeekSA

Laura Thompson, Dre Lavelle, Lu Vee, Kathryn Pearl, Anel Flores, Jamaal Alejandro Haffner & Franque Michele Bains
Writers Having their Say

Poetix En Flux

Reading from #EntreGuadalupeYMalinche with the glorious work of Nansi Guevara at my back. Amazing evening with Polly Anna Rocha and Michael Martinez for a reading of queer voices. #PoeticEnFlux #lgbtqauthors #rgvartist #xicanoart #fronterista #empanadabook @cortinasdelluvia #lesbianaliteratura

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foto by prima: Lucy Garcia !