I have always understood that entrusting the road of study and practice would finally lead me to knowing the evolving direction of my work. The deep influences of the doctors/ medicine peoples that were able to help me, turned my attention toward another under- standing of my work as an artist as a spiritual and intellectual life practice. Using the word art sounds incomplete to me, although it is an

old word, a western European word that signifies “skill gained from study and practice.” The Na- huatl terms ‘toltekatl /amantecatl/ tlahcuiloh’ give more breadth to the meaning of art as an act of imagination made visible that is experienced by heart and mind. I am interested in connection to place of origin, which I feel is the homework that we as Xicanas must do on a personal, familial, and community level. The política of place brings us to the personal experience of I/we. So I am interested in what I have always described as ‘following the symbols,’ perhaps as the common lan- guage of our continent. I am drawn to what is left on the ground, the stones, and cave walls, the shards of our culturas embedded in the rich earth of our homelands, las huertas, our backyards, and the common spaces in our homes. This is the visual tangible language of our gente. There is much to know there. The value in getting back to the place of origin, our roots, is not about pride or idealistic notions of identity. The value resides in finding our way, and having the tenacity, to rec- ognize what is still alive in our imaginations that moves us and shapes the continuity our culturas.

CHR (Xicana/O’dami) 2019