I was born in Colombia in South America, in Bogota, but I have I lived in the city and the country.
I came to Canada to study and I stayed. That was 41 years ago: 1971. I had 2 sisters and I was the baby of the family. I decided to do something different. My first idea to was to go to Australia. But my sisters said “go to Canada, it isn’t so far away.” I had a cousin who lived in Canada and so I wrote to her and arranged to visit. During this visit we checked to see if I could stay and go to University. I enrolled at Concordia, then I went to immigration and received my papers. I learned French and English. I finished my studies, in computers, at Concordia in 1980. Of course this has all changed.
I travelled to Vancouver to work for a short time, but I came back to Montreal. I worked for the Bank of Montreal for 18 years and for a short time for Bentley, in the department of finance.
I am now retired.
I broke my arm in 2008. I was running, and fell on the snow. Under the snow was ice. I fell and broke it in several places. I had a cast on my arm from my fingers to my shoulders. I was home for almost a year. At that time I decided to take my pension. But I still work.
I am a volunteer at the YMCA where I give courses in Tai Chi and relaxation to older people. I also work for Yellow Door where I participate in a program for people studying at McGill who are in theatre. They are always looking for people to tell stories, which they put into plays, often for the radio. I have participated for 3 years.
I like this type of creative work. I paint at home and I read. I am busy. Everyday I do my exercises and my relaxation routine. This is important to me.
Reflections on my photos:
Many Landscapes, Four Seasons, Two Countries, One Planet
I like to take pictures. But I like pictures of nature. I like the contrast between the summer, winter, spring and fall. Nature is part of my life; and I am part of nature. When I look at the trees, I sense that the trees see me. They are alive too. They are a part of me and we are connected. When natural disaster strikes I often have a feeling that something is about to happen.
When I was a little girl I went to the countryside when my mother was sick. She was told she needed to be in clean air and that she needed heat. So we went to a place that was in the corner of the country on the border of Colombia and Venezuala. At that time it was a jungle. I spent 4 or 5 years with her in the jungle. I learned how to comb wild horses and to ride them. I swam in the river. I walked without shoes. I was completely part of all of this. Living in the jungle I was in contact with everything this environment had to offer: the wild horses, the orchids, the birds. It was beautiful. It is still in my body. It is something I will never forgot. I put my feet in the water today, and I feel the sensation, from my childhood, of the fish biting at my toes.
My life is part of nature and the pictures are part of this life. I try and be in the now. Today. Not in the past or the future or tomorrow. The moment. The past is a beautiful memory but I cannot go back. I am thinking about the future but I am not there yet. I am in the now. Of course sometimes things arrive and you don’t know what you want. You must be prepared for these things, but you don’t know where your decisions will take you. This is how I live.
I love the 4 seasons. In Colombia, we have snow, but it is perpetual and we often don’t get the chance to see it. You can ski there, but it is different. There are places close to the sea with mountains of snow. But the most beautiful scenery is the Andes and Cordilleras that is part of Colombia. Anywhere you look, there are mountains. It is beautiful. You travel there and you are somewhere different. The sky is not high. It is close to you. It is almost 3000 meters at sea level. When you travel you feel the sky is not far. It is just above your head. But when you go down from the mountains, it is different. There are places where if you put an egg in the sun, at noon, it is cooked in 5 minutes. It is so hot. So we don’t have changes of seasons, but we have contrast. In Bogata you may have spring and winter as well as summer, but it is nothing like Canada. There is almost always rain and heat. And the primary contrast is all about elevation: up is cold; down is hot. I often think about these seasonal changes and ageing. All the seasons are different, but all bring a moment of promise to us, even winter. There is optimism in every season. I have made a small movie about this process and my feelings about this.
For this exhibition, I put together landscapes of Colombia and Montreal. I love both places. My feelings for both are strong. Both places are home. There is no separation. I never separate the two countries. They are part of the larger Universe; I am part of this Universe. I consider everything and everywhere I go integrated. Anywhere. Anywhere. Everything is our place. This is our shared planet.
I use the word peace when I look at these photos. Inside of me I have peace. I want to transmit this to people because I feel it. When I give my courses, I tell people to look for the place where they can find peace and harmony. “Think about the best moment in your life. Enjoy the moment that you are there. Even if it only through thinking.” This is what I suggest. By doing this you can feel peace and happiness. I want to transmit this joy through giving. You give and this is good. When you give you must never wait to get back. For the soul this is important.
This is the way to live, in my opinion. Not searching for money or for success. If these things bring you happiness, I respect that. I cannot change people. Everyone is different. We must respect these differences. It would be terrible if everyone was the same.