My artwork submission for the 2019 @vivalamuxer event.
This contribution to Migrant Mamas is in honor of my grandmother, Maria Guadalupe Medina, who as a 12-year-old orphan immigrated from Mexico to the USA. As a young woman, she worked as a migrant worker, picking fruits and vegetables throughout the country.
I knew my grandmother towards the end of her life and we called her Nana. At that time she wore bandanas around her head, was always in a cotton housedress topped by an apron, and wore knee-high nylons that always seemed to puddle around her ankles. She had one wooden leg and her eyes were as large as boiled eggs beneath her bifocals. She was committed to her telenovelas and to her tiny dog, Sally. Nana called dollar bills "ranas" (frogs) which she offered to me generously so that I might purchase a toy or treat. When I was a child, she seemed fragile to me, yet she also seemed mighty, like water that can be both serene and powerful.
My mother talks about Nana wistfully. She misses her migrant mama. Nana lived a complex life and left the world in pain. Throughout her life, she was a brave , hard-working woman who championed self-reliance and perseverance. Because she forged a life here in California, I, her granddaughter, was provided with abundance, choices and the privilege of expression.