Santa Cruz Scars Project Description

Santa Cruz Scars

Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History

Opening Friday June 3rd, 2016 - July 8th, 2016

As a child, my infant sisters and I were forcibly given traditional scars.  A woman we had only known for a few hours cut each of our cheeks, the center of our collarbones, and the top of our backs. The woman who scarred us was not given permission to by our parents, and even worse, the scars she gave us were the wrong ones for our tribe. This was not my first time getting scarred (or the last), but it was the most memorable as it was a shared experience with my sisters.  We revisit this memory frequently and the scars have since become a badge of our bond.

Today, I collect memories from people who have been through traumatic events that have redefined their identity. This includes refugees, the homeless, amputees, those dealing with the onset of mental illness (dementia, brain injury, emotional fragility). Even the kid who just scraped his knee for the first time.  From these recordings I make art. These result in poems, short stories, paintings, installation and audio recordings-- which I sometimes sew into soft sculptures.

Share your story with me at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History this summer as part of SCMAH’s Art Works Exhibition.  I’ll be one of the three artists kicking off the exhibition in its first phase. This summer, eleven artists will transform the gallery into artist studios and create amazing work with the public.

My practice, Santa Cruz Scars, will ask you to look at your body as a physical symbol of memory, trauma and identity. This project is a space to revisit an event that left a scar on your body or mind. It is both a chance to bear witness to what others in Santa Cruz have been through, while celebrating how they overcame their trauma.

During Santa Cruz Scars, I will share images of the scar stories and the work that I build around it.  Join me for the opening this Friday June 3rd, 2016. Share your own story and get a print of your physical scars. For those non-visible scars, I will also be making soft sculptures embedded with your story.

We do not begin our lives anticipating trauma, but it is inevitable. Though scars are reminders of what we have been through, they are also a reminder that we have survived.  Come share your story with me this summer from June 3rd to July 8th at the Solari Gallery at Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History 705 Front St. Santa Cruz, CA 95060.

See you there,

Nanci