Sculpture > Amuleto

Latin America is comprised of people of Indigenous, Spanish and African ancestry. In Latin America, faith-based and mystical healing practices are a product of this multiculturalism. Cuban singer and song writer Celia Cruz described these practices in her popular 1956 song “Yerberito Moderno,” which was sung from the point of view of a “Yierbero” - an herbal medicine man or
“Ay, que yo traigo abrecaminos, pa'tu destino
(Y con esa yerba se casa usted)
Oye, yo traigo keisimón, pa' la hinchazón
(Y con esa yerba se casa usted)
Ay, que yo traigo yerba santa, pa' la garganta
(Y con esa yerba se casa usted)”
In this excerpt Celia describes which herbs heal the body and which have mystical powers that extend beyond the physical. As a young child raised in Colombia by my grandmother and aunts, I observed healing practices that derived from natural herbs and were informed by a mix of spiritual and religious beliefs. I have vivid memories of clipping basil leaves to make teas to cure sadness and stomach pains, and dried bouquets burned to clean the air and energetic impurities in our home. In domestic spaces, Indigenous and African healing practices were merged with Catholic religious rituals. Now these multicultural rituals are intricate part of the Colombian spiritual and cultural heritage. Whether accessing the healing powers of such herbs come in the form of a tea, water bath or a smoke limpia or “cleansing", the mysticism behind it is rooted in invoking the protection of a higher energy.
As a Colombian-American woman in the States, I have become more in touch with these healing traditions, which have become an intricate part my creative practice in the form growing plants and food. Just like my grandmother, I too have taken to the ritual of growing, caring, and respecting plant’s protective and healing properties in my environment. The tending rituals of these live beings involves singing, talking, watering, and feeding, which cultivates and ideally cycles their healing and mystic properties back to my home.