yasmin hernandez


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LUZ A posthumous collaboration with my brother ...

Project statement appears below gallery. Click on thumbnails for details on each piece.


I call this a “posthumous” collaboration with my brother. Most of the works in this series, visually, are a departure from my usual painting style. Luz (Light) combines digital art, family snap shots, photography, calligraphy, painting and video. It is a project I began developing after my brother ended his battle with cancer in April of 2010. In creating these works I often felt as though his spirit was influencing the choice of materials and the content of the work. In some cases I use his images or words. The design of his bandanas serves as the backdrop for many of the pieces. Much of the calligraphy featured in the work was inspired by his graffiti and created with his markers and pens that were given to me after his passing. They are still in the black nylon case he kept them in while staying at the hospital. The case still carries a faint scent of his Backwoods cigar smoke.

Channeling my family’s espiritismo tradition, I trace the journey of my brother’s spirit through its existence on earth and as a spirit traveling beyond. I also explore the brief overlap of my brother’s last year here with my son’s first year. I became pregnant two months after my brother’s cancer diagnosis. After his first auto stem cell transplant, he experienced a brief remission. The cancer returned the month after my baby was born but he continued to be a spectacular uncle throughout my son’s first year. My brother ended his battle with Multiple Myeloma just two weeks after Gabriel’s first birthday. While I was blessed with the arrival of my first born son, my mother prepared to say goodbye to her own.

Luz considers that good spirits come from light (dar a luz or the Spanish term for giving birth) and return to it (go towards the light) once our mission on this earth is complete. It also channels the Yoruba concept of orí, the sacred orisha that resides within each of our heads, guiding a unique, divine mission during our time on this earth. During these journeys in and out of this place, we connect with other spirits progressing on their own paths. Much of who I am today as a woman and as an artist is marked by the blessing of having had Joseph as my big brother. He guided and protected me while here, and continues to do so from elsewhere. Life as I knew it changed forever since his loss yet my connection to my brother grows more profound each day. These works are testament to that connection.

Below is a poem I just found today, April 25, 2012. It was written two weeks after my brother passed and I forgot I ever wrote it as I hadn't seen it since. With these words I attempted to summarize his life and what it meant.


Each beat
Slipped past
The strachin' skip
Of your fingers
Every record
On the turning tables
Of steel or digital rubber

Every cap of every can
Aimed at surfaces
Yours and not yours

Each train bombed
In wars of recognition
Every wall tagged
By your touch
Every step battled
In circles
In parks
And streets

Every turnstile jumped
Each fist thrown
Every pipe smoked
Every tear fallen
Every smile shown
Every laugh lit
Every hug healed
Every word shared
Every story told
Every line dropped
Every fish caught
Every battle fought
To the end
Of hope
To spread hope
Even when you had none

Every baby cradled
Every hand you held
Every brother you carried
Every sister you nurtured
Every mother you cherished
Every man you hugged
To teach love
When they had none

Every brick laid
Every wall built
And broken down
Every border dissolved
Every limit transcended
Every pain you ignored
Every substance you resisted

The agony you withstood
The cries you smothered
The agony you endured
Through jokes
Through smiles
Through laughs
Giving more
Growing more
Till your spirit
Was too great
For this place

Rest in Peace Sonny!


© Copyright 2010-12, Yasmin Hernandez. Under no circumstances should any of the images or content of this site be downloaded, printed or reproduced without direct permission from the artist.