New Work: Before I Leave You...
The past year has been a rollercoaster of emotional and social upheaval, not just for our country, but for humanity at large. As in past work, I wanted to express a personal emotional response using the beautiful marionette created for me by artist, Roman Valdes, as the metaphor for “self”. Inspired by nature and faith, I attempt to respond to the alienation of social interaction, mixed with a societal fear of death. The triptych, “Before I Leave You”, references personal experiences of this past year: I lost my Dad, my “Papi”, I struggle with the “silencing” of voices and the attacks on personal freedoms, (especially since he sacrificed everything to leave Cuba and bring us to the “land of the free”), and I struggle with the loss of God in the world. I contemplate what my place is in the world at this moment, at this time in history, and if I were called by God to leave it, what would I want to share with my past and present students? my friends? my family? and especially, my two beautiful granddaughters, amazing sons and daughter-in-law, and my husband, the love of my life and partner for 40+years? I do not fear death, but I worry about those I leave behind…that I didn’t do enough, that I didn’t love enough, that I didn’t pray enough. There is much to do, before I leave you…
Belenna Mesa Lauto is currently a professor of photography at St. John’s University in New York. Her work has been widely exhibited throughout the United States and also internationally in Spain, France, Columbia and Argentina. Her work aims to invite contemplation of the self in both the physical and spiritual realms.
" I work simultaneously with both documentary and mixed media projects, believing that all serious work is an on-going process that requires great discipline, dedication and passion. Art making…and life, for that matter, have similar objectives. They both evolve and improve when we aim to grow and learn from experiences that come from doing the work, putting it out there, and sharing it with others, moving forward and never giving up."