“Los Tesoros De Mi Abuelito ” by Angelica Raquel Martinez
artist: ANGELICA RAQUEL MARTINEZ
LOS TESOROS DE MI ABUELITO
7’ x 4’ Needle felted wool, metal, glass, sculpey, rug hooked patches and textiles, 2020
"I started making this sculpture when I found out my Grandfather was dying. I had been living away from home for some years now, and it wasn’t really until this moment that I felt this overwhelming need to remember. Leonel San Miguel, my grandpa, instilled the importance of spirituality into me and my family. He was a Deacon for the Catholic church, serving his community providing baptisms, funerals, blessings, etc. Most importantly, and personally, he was the gentle and firm leader of our family. He loved nature and found it to have a spirit and soul. He was also a hunter, a role in which he inhabited the duality of life and death with reverence rather than separate, conflicting things. There is a particular memory involving my grandfather that is part of the catalyst of my own understanding of and respect for nature.
I was a small child. I could not see through the backyard door window since it was too tall for me. I opened the door to head outside and was greeted by a visceral scene. A freshly hunted doe was hanging from the porch by its back hooves, its stomach cut open, its neck slit and bleeding into a bucket on the floor. I was not scared, but I was unsure of how to feel. My grandfather was cleaning his kill and called me over to him and the deer. He asked me to tell the doe “Thank you” because it gave its life for us to harvest. We would eat because of its ending. He told me, in such a beautiful and simple way, to never take more than is needed. He said once he got the flesh and hide, he would put back the body into the earth. When I asked him “why?” he responded, “to give it back to the earth. Life is precious and should not be wasted. Death is very much a part life, it’s a physical ending, but it is still important to cherish and thank the life that was given.”
I used to see him always feeding the deer—not always to hunt—but to admire and take care of the wildlife that lived at our ranch. I miss him so much. In this piece, I wanted to capture the essence of that lesson. The duality of life and death, and how beautiful it is as two parts to a whole. On a grassy dome there are rug hooked images of symbols personal to me, a bright white doe in two stages of its existence, and an experience given twice to the viewer as they approach and complete a rotation around it."
—Angelica Raquel Martinez
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