Rachel Maves' "The World Is My Backyard"
Richmond artist Rachel Maves discusses her nostalgic and vibrant work, "The World Is My Backyard":
My mother immigrated to the States from Ivisan, Philippines when she was 19 years old. Although she was excited about this change, she had little company and immediately had to hustle to take care of herself. Eventually she met my Dad, bought a home and took on gardening.
I grew up in this garden of hers. Pathways with branches that hugged the air, lazy petals that fell in the spring, white gravel comfortable enough to walk on without shoes and cascading oak trees that lifted the sky. I spent a lot of time out there alone as a kid and when I did have company, I let the garden speak for me in my contemplative moments. It wasn’t until I moved out as an adult that I realized the garden was of my mother’s escape from the isolation, how each plant was a family member of her own. How do I know about this for sure? I asked a Carnation, a Bleeding Heart, a Morning Glory, a Rose. Did she know she'd take a piece of the Philippines with her when she made plans to move to America?
Our Beagle, Hannah, at the time would roam around freely in the garden and I would follow her under low branches and through narrow pathways while narrating stories in my head. This piece illustrates the time I spent in the garden with Hannah. In between watching cartoons and reading books, we'd spend the afternoon feeling lost in this piece of the Philippines my mom created.
I'm sure my mother is not alone in this experience as I can only imagine how thousands of other immigrants who had to cope with the culture shock. America wouldn't be what it is without people like my mother who want to bring a piece of home with them.