URBAN APOTHECARY PROJECT
Is an ongoing project that combines research, plan medicine and social commentary.
Drawing on my life long interest in religious symbols, archetypes and popular culture, this project looks at the city and its citizens as the playground to treat the contemporary ailments of San Francisco’s complex psyche.
DISCLAIMER: The medicines in this project are all made with natural ingredients grown in the San Francisco Bay Area. They carry all the healing properties attributed by ancestral knowledge. However, they don’t intend to offer any solution to current health care problems but a playful way to reclaim herbalism as a form of institutional critique and resistance towards our capitalistic culture.
Botanica La Mirada
Art Residency at Monterey Museum of Art "La Mirada"
Inspired in the syncretic folk medicine and spiritual traditions of Spanish and Indian cultures, my work at Monterey Museum of Art offers an alternative way of looking at issues of colonization, power dynamics and cultural assimilation.
Having the city of Monterey as the background, I embarked on a pilgrimage to map gardens from the Spanish and Mexican period, incorporating native, invasive and naturalized plants into herbal remedies that will be shared with the public in the form of a pop-up shop.
This project is informed not only by historic data, but it also incorporates myths and legends that shaped the history of Monterey, from its past forms of colonialism to the present ones.
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) is a magical plant that is considered sacred in ancient cultures around the world. Its name Artemisia is associated with greek goddess Artemis, incarnation of Mother Earth. Commonly used by women for dreamwork, to induce labor and protection, this plant is the perfect one to cast spells around systems of oppression, specially the ones that affect women.
In the spirit of using ritual, plants and earth-based spirituality to comment on our extreme capitalistic culture, I've created a series of rituals/performances in collaboration with the public. Using the feminist mythological icon of Artemisia, the hunter Goddess of the Moon and the Wild , this work explores the possibilities of using ritual to be employed creatively in public art practice, and examines how to draw audiences into unexpected and potentially liminal experiences.
SPELL TO ARTEMISIA
Hail Lady Artemisia
Mother of all plants
Keeper of all mysteries
Queen of the starry night
We invoke your lunar ecstasy
Your hunter presence
Your mystic trance
Be our guide and inspiration
To be untamed, to be wild
For us witches, wise women and healers
to reach the liminal side
Mighty Goddess Artemisia
From the evils of patriarchy please protect us
And from those who impose control over us
Connect us with our dreams of justice
Set us free and set us wild
*Invoke Artemisia on the 6th day of the month or on a full moon
Follow Your Dreams
Mugwort has been traditionally used to enhance vivid dreaming. This connection that the plant has with the moon, with the darkness and the subconscious mind is brought to this potion and now you can enjoy a very effective reality relief that will help you to manifest your most hidden dreams.
Fly Me To The Moon
During one of my daily urban foraging walks in Monterey I discovered hidden in the park the "Moon Tree", a redwood with a story that I felt I needed to incorporate in this project. In 1971, Stuart Roosa, pilot of the Apollo 14, took redwood seeds to the Moon and spent 33 days orbiting. When the seeds were brought back to earth they were planted and germinated in Placerville and in 1976 the small redwood was transplanted to its current location in Monterey.
For Native Americans Redwoods are the symbol of connection with the ancestors, of strength and wisdom. But is this redwood "native"? Is it a transplant or an alien? Regardless of its origins, the medicine of this Redwood Moon Tree is a call to invoke extra-terrestrial powers when it is most needed.
Colonize Me Not!
Based in the idea that the poison is part of the healing process, and inspired by the restorative justice model, I collected native, invasive and naturalized plants to create this unique elixir that will bring healing to both sufferers and inflictors of new forms of colonialism.
P E R F U M E
A feminist all-inclusive and all-empowering essence designed to bring adventure, rebellion and passion to your life.
Roses - Oaks - Monterey Cypress - Rosemary
Perfume, like so many industries, is one dominated by men. But this essence is meant to break stereotypes, rules and narratives around femininity, power dynamics and gender roles.
Inspired by Ruth Wightman’s life, this captivating perfume is composed from raw material from La Mirada Rose Garden, including traditional flowers used in perfume, like roses, and other non-conventional plants, like oaks and cypresses.
Car racer, aircraft pilot and bullfighter, Ruth, owner of La Mirada*, was a passionate woman who broke the rules and female stereotypes of her times.
*La Mirada began as a modest stone adobe during the Mexican period and later remodeled into an elegant home that is now part of the Monterey Museum of Art.