Artwork #107

Ancestral Self-Portrait

by Lys Santamaria, Council District 7

Fabric, beads, colored pencils, 2018

Courtesy of the Artist

This self-portrait is about reconnection. I was born in Colombia but when I was very little, we moved away to Canada. This separation affected my relationship with my extended family drastically. I never got to know my aunts, cousins and grandparents – my only relationships were with my immediate family. This portrait symbolizes our connection despite the distance that separated us from each other. I created it to remind myself of who I am, where I come from and who I hope to be.

The bottom left corner is my paternal side of my family – with my father’s name first and then all of his side of the family. On the upper right is my mom’s name and all of her side of the family as well. In the heart center are my brothers and sisters. The hair weaves in an out of the names to show emphasize connection and love. 

This piece is actually a quilt and tells the story of our family. It was made using free-hand machine embroidery, hand-sewn beads and colored pencils.