NYFA MARK Alumni
Wilka Roig
Trumansburg, NY / Guánica, PR (Motherland)
2009
chromogenic prints
40x30"
Motherland
As a native Puerto Rican living in Upstate NY, in Motherland I set out to explore cultural displacement, focusing on landscape and native ecologies as containers of cultural influence and personal identification, considering climate and the environment as strong influential factors in self-perception, identity formation and assimilation. For the project, I engaged family members still living in Puerto Rico who send me gifts that reflect who I am in their minds and memories. For the photographs I don these gifts, assembling my family’s images of me, and pose in nature in upstate NY where I’ve lived for the last fourteen years. I place myself in particular poses to display my family’s gifts within the context of the local Upstate NY landscape. In Puerto Rico I photograph the empty landscapes that I once inhabited.

The portrayed body represents the container of memory and experience, the space where one’s sense of selfhood and belonging is constantly being negotiated in relation to place. In Motherland I confront a disjointed sense of belonging by contrasting my person with ill-fitting outfits, the environment with unsuitable attire, and by comparing potentially incongruent yet possibly corresponding landscapes. The images in Motherland are an expression of internal conflicts about who we are, who we become, and why.
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