REVIVIR, according to Milton
Plaster casts of resident of NOLA. Plaster, wood, wire. Variable Dimensions Winter 2008
Galerie Bienvenu; New Orleans, LA
About five years ago, while on my second visit to New Orleans, I asked my host and friend Miss Ava Smith, an avid gardener, if she had a grass-like plant I could grow back home in Brooklyn. She gave me saplings of walking iris and, a few months later I was enamored of the deeply scentful, if albeit ephemeral, flowers growing on my window sills. Then hurricane Katrina hit, Miss Ava's house flooded and, her garden was completely destroyed. It took a while for us to realize that I had, in my apartment, the only survivors from her garden. A couple of years later, when Miss Ava was able to move back into her house, I Fed-Ex'ed her some buds and plants and, to our joy, the irises got to walk around her backyard, again.
This led me into thinking about survival, and particularly, about that inexplicable sense of preservation in the face of complete and utter devastation found, not only in humans but in nature, altogether. The fact that, in the most hostile an dejected of environments, with a little humidity, a seed will find it's way to the sun and grow. Where does the stamina and energy to carry on and rebuild come from when we stand looking at the debris of what we once called our life? Surely it takes more than soil, water and sun. And, although a deep belief in God is often quoted, even non-believers carry on. I speculate it must be somehow related to our self-preservation instinct. What is the catalyst? What is it in our brains, our bodies, or our souls that tells us, "No! You are not giving up yet. You will carry on!
And so, this is how Revivir, according to Milton came to life; a very humble and personal attempt at making sense from this concepts and, drawing some positive lessons from the catastrophe. The exhibition is also intended as a message to the people affected by these events who are still struggling that, even though the government might have forgotten about them, we, the people from the outside, have not.
Revivir in Spanish translates as "to revive" but also, "to relive."