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© 2019 Elizabeth Farinango. All rights reserved. 

Healing through Remembering is an ongoing project that explores healing by accessing our personal and our collective memory. My family and I immigrated to Canada in 1996, from a small community in Ecuador. As an indigenous child, I faced discrimination for the way that I dressed, for the way indigenous traits we (proudly) carry, and the work that my family does. My indigeneity was never welcomed.

In my early adult years, I dreamt of a space where I could be myself. I dreamt of being able to wear my traditional clothes or -anaco- without being patronized, exoticized or discriminated against. In 2014, I moved to Ecuador to find that space. I desperately needed to connect with my Kichwa roots, to my extended family, and to the land. After many attempts at staying in Ecuador, I realized I was a person stuck in two worlds.

 

My ‘home’ was no longer in one space. I didn't make sense in just one space.

 

I found myself in incoherence, my eyes looked at the Taita Imbabura - a sacred mountain - while my inner dialogue was in English, my “western” way of thinking got in the way of "immersion" and I found myself in chaos over wanting to break every social norm and gender role established for me. 

 

I had romanticized the idea of going . back . "home" 

 

During this phase, I came face to face with the fact that I have clinical depression. My mental health issues exacerbated as I began to unravel my ancestral and personal memory. I began to understand the pain that my family goes through.

 

Poverty, domestic violence, alcoholism, the violence of colonialism are the roots of the pain and trauma that my family carries and has carried through generations. The need for healing was apparent and I began to focus on that. 

 

 

By allowing my healing process to happen, I began to see the incredible resilience of the women in my family, they are survivors - warriors - wise and incredibly supportive of one another. I learned about our intuitive ways of healing, about the wisdom left for us in the plants, rocks, teas and in the rituals with those who have passed.

 

 

The project Healing Through Remembering, started as my way to try to understand intergenerational trauma. It collected feelings and moments of the journey towards healing. My family taught me to be there for each other without borders, to care for our land and to pass on the knowledge left to us. This visual reflection is my love letter to these women, to mother earth and to my inner child. It is an invitation to the younger generation of Kichwas to question the oppression we internalize, to be radically in love with who they are, to let their roots help them flourish into what our ancestors dreamed of.

 

E. Farinango, 2018