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I am attracted to earthy, untamed wildness in nature. I make sculptural, organic and whimsical adornments for the body using textured metal--silver, copper, bronze and gold--and freeform cabochons cut from natural stones. I handpick river rocks smoothed by time from along the Northeast and Northwest coastline, and I seek out turquoise, lapis and other unusual gemstones Southwestern desert nomads cut and polish themselves. My jewelry evokes the mood of the desert, ocean and mountain landscapes, and not unlike in the natural world, no two pieces are exactly alike. I design the jewelry I love to wear myself; my adornments can be worn for all occasions.

I view the world from the principle of Etuaptmumk, the Mi'kmaw word for Two-Eyed Seeing, and live a life that integrates indigenous ways of knowing with western science. I think about the world from a “mestiza consciousness,” a philosophical thought process driven by ambiguity and contradiction derived from my multiple identities, or la frontera/borderlands. I am a first generation U.S. American whose Colombian mother and Jewish Russian father constructed a bi-lingual, multi-religious home in a predominately white wooded NYC suburb. Ósea/that is, I am located between places; I live “here” in the North and I dream constantly of “there,” the South. Often, I am without place. The elements jewelry-making invites into the studio to dance—fire, metal, stone and water— grounds and roots me to the Earth.

As both la conquistadora and la indigina reside within me, I am sandwiched between cultures, unsettled and conflicted. Can I, and others, who live betwixt and between appropriate cultures? What does it mean to borrow or steal that which was already taken (from us and by us)?

I believe those who decorate women and men’s bodies with ornamentation from resources taken from land and practices from human cultures, have a responsibility to mediate the spaces where stolen lands, bodies and other colonial practices intersect with art to create public and private conversations about the liberation struggles of land-based cultures for self determination, truth telling reparations for harm done, and structural violence and other forms of social injustices so we, collective humanity, can repair, restore, and mature into our highest potential which is ours.


M E S A L A J E W E L R Y

melindasalazar.com

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RANSOM

exploring the edges of appropriation
10.20.18 - 12.13.18

Posted
Authorcait giunta