• Mujeres de Maiz, Offering Healing Spaces based in Expression to Los Angeles

    Emerging from the excitement and conversations surrounding the 1994 Zapatista uprising Mujeres de Maiz formed to offer an autonomous space for art, healing and fundamentally expression.

    Their work is varied and the links at the bottom will give you an introduction. Their scope includes, workshops, poetry zine's, and a a month of activities in March and May. This Sunday May 18th (I think I said March on the Podcast...oops!)in Los Angeles, in partnership with the Justice for my Sister Collective, they are hosting "Retomamos el Noche". We wrote about it earlier last week. For more information check out our previous post here.

    I spoke with 3 members of the pathbreaking collective: Co-founder Felicia "Fe" Montes, Iris de Anda who has been published in the zine and is with East Side Cafe and one of the newest members Daniella Ortiz Padilla also with the Justice For my Sister campaign. The interview was at East Side Cafe in El Serreno as part of a larger series of interviews I was completing in my native Los Angeles.
    For the most part I think in the interviews I have produced I am able to successfully let the conversation be what it us with a little prodding and structure on my part and perhaps a joke or two. With the women of Mujeres de Maiz I was really taken in by the flow of our conversation and in particular Daniella's comments about her cousin. During the course of our conversation she probably spoke the least but had the strongest impact on me as I was reminded of my own experience's with violence when I was in Guatemala in 2004 learning about the Maya and their insurgency during the 36 year armed conflict (1960-1996). Ever since I had been working through my own trauma having accompanied a community that was massacred by the government. During the podcast I found myself having a hard time finding my own focus while at the same time immediately feeling safe and understood with these women. The hardest lesson from my experience in Guatemala and in considering violence as a whole is the arbitrary nature of it; how disposable the community members I came to know where to the government. Furthermore, during the course of the armed conflict Maya were certainly scene as disposable leading ultimately to the 200,000 deaths that are no recognized as genocide.

    Suffice it to say the conversation was draining for me, in the best way possible. In the end it seems as if I experienced a piece of the healing that they provide for each other. I also generally enjoyed the conversation because we were able to get serious but still laugh and enjoy the content of our words. Overall, they made me miss Los Angeles more then I already do. I hope to be back soon to capture these stories and connect with communities that form out of a need to express our resistance.

    The link for Mujeres de Maiz is here. You can find videos, art, the Zine, and an assortment of other expressions.

    Fe's work can be found here, she is indeed a "Jill" of all trades.

    Iris' work can be found here. You can purchase the book that she mentions.

    At the moment Daniella is not publishing a book or CD but you can find information about the Justice for my Sister campaign here.

    The two videos below are from 2009 performances mentioned during the interview and below that is the sound cloud page for Iris. Enjoy!
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