Blood Memory | Candida Gonzalez

Blood Memory | Candida Gonzalez

Public Functionary presents Blood Memory by Candida Gonzalez.

In the arrangement of foods in the kitchen, the gold we drape ourselves with, the song lyrics that we bring into our bodies to celebrate and mourn, everyday altars in our lives show love and respect to our ancestors. For people living in diaspora, particularly the Puerto Rican diaspora, how do we connect to blood memories through objects and sensorial experiences when we are miles away from our ancestral homes?  

People pass on the sacred memory of their ancestors and homelands through hearing, touch, taste and adornment. Smells, music, everyday sounds and textures from Puerto Rico awaken blood memories as medicine that exists in the objects. 

Blood Memory ruptures the representation of altar (typically following religion or ritual), focusing instead on the intuitive while still creating spells that honor our ancestors and our homelands. Using a variety of media – collage, photography, everyday objects and audio – Candida creates five installations that connect to the spaciousness of memorialization.

In Caldero Familiar, a kitchen installation is accompanied by handmade collages and audio to reflect how we use food to connect with and honor our homelands on a daily basis. In the participatory installation Blood Memory, visitors are asked to interact with a variety of objects until they find one that invokes a memory from their body, write a love letter to it and place it on the corresponding altar.  I Wear Gold to Talk to My Ancestors explores how we use our bodies and adornment to be in relationship with our ancestors and the things that were important to them. The participatory installation En Duelo recreates a more traditional bedroom altar to the dead but moves it into a communal space where visitors can contribute and find space to explore their grief over lost loved ones.

About the Artist:

A queer, trans, non-binary mixed Puerto Rican from South Minneapolis, Candida Gonzalez (they/them) is a multimedia artist most often working in temporary altar installations using found objects, words, and elements of the natural world. Their projects explore how the manipulation of basic elements into different configurations produce distinct energies/spells. They studied Latin American Art and History at The Evergreen State College and went on to get their M.Ed. at UMN in 2003. They approach their work by centering at the intersection of art, activism, healing and personal/community empowerment. They are deeply invested in the concept of using art and community design as tools to wage love and healing. They also work nationwide as a public art consultant, curriculum developer and workshop facilitator as well as create talismanic jewelry under the name Las Ranas Jewelry. 

Gallery Hours:

Thurs (12pm-9pm)

Fri (12pm-6pm)

Sat 12pm-6pm

Image: (Detail) Underwater, digital collage, 2024 (part of installation ReCreation)

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