I grew up with stories from my Nana talking about our Spanish ancestry. It was something my family was very proud of. I don't know if our dna remembers where we come from but whenever I am in Spain I feel at home. My Mom was able to trace my Dad's maternal side of the family to Herrera, Spain. Francisco Xavier de Herrera came to New Mexico during the 1700's with some land given to him by her Majesty of Spain. Apparently he was a bit of a rascal and his young wife kicked him out. She later took care of him in his old age and that's where the trail goes cold. After a night in Mijas, Spain and getting to see the impressive Semana Santa Procession my parents and I loaded up our things and headed towards Herrera. It's a small town about an hour away from Sevilla. We rolled up and started asking for directions to the cathedral. One of the locals had us follow him in his car and left us at the main cathedral. We wandered inside to find the townspeople decorating the elaborate thrones for that nights procession. Dad and I speak some Spanish but had a terrible time understanding the Andalucian dialect. They were so sweet trying to help us even though we didn't understand one another. Eventually one of the guys called his cousin who spoke english. Toni, a local council member, immediately came to the church. We showed him what little information we had and he said he would check with the archbishop in Sevilla since all the records in Herrera were burned during the Spanish-Civil War during the 30's. It was such a fun visit and although we did not find out more about our family we left with an invitation to return to Herrera. So wild to think that some of these people in the cathedral were probably my distant cousins. We will definitely be back!
Road Stories began in the states but the adventure carried across the Atlantic as I made my way through France, Spain and Portugal and eventually ended with my show in Santiago de Compostela. What an incredible experience that came to be with the love and support of so many friends and family members of both Ana and I. It was amazing to reconnect with all these old friends through this project. It was also wonderful to make new friends in Santiago de Compostela's thriving artist community. If you are ever in this magical city you must stop in and say hello to Adriana and Manu at Olalab Gallery. You could not wish for two better people to introduce you to the art scene here.
"We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there."