My village is a tiny conglomerate of white houses in the middle of the dry plains of Extremadura, middle point between Madrid and the borders of Portugal. The streets were not even asphalted when I started going to the school and people would use horses and donkeys to go to pick up fruit to the fields.
There was a play area in my village, but it was a dark place for me.
All plants were dry in summer, the heat would make impossible to play there before 19h and the shadow areas were occupied by the bullies, who transformed it into a nightmare.
A strong no-belonging feeling and a very premature migration to a different school and town added to the mix. Confused and surrounded by adults and a sister that was still too small to play, I hid in my granny’s courtyard, a multifunctional area that allowed me to create my own safe space, my free kingdom of colors and lots and lots of plants; my own dusty playground.
My toys were very simple: tools to build or paint walls, old dresses and shoes, random kitchen utensils, tools from my mother’s hairdresser’s… And dolls, some old, some broken, but all of them inherit from older cousins or forgotten by the only female neighbor in the street.
Time went by and I moved away happily.
Years later a mix of dementia and COVID took my granny.
After her death, the space remained empty. Completely silent and still.
I went back this year, to make peace with the nostalgia, to confront my own old patio, now ownerless.
This project is an homage to the space where I used to play during those summers and weekends, away from the outer world.
And also an homage to my grandmother, Pepa.
A series of photographs and some relics from thirty years ago that document the simplicity of that context and the effect of time on it.
A reflection about how much/little we need, about the value of memory, the overcome of trauma and the strong connection that those playgrounds still have with our today selves.
Create a room where the toys are the main character, the documentation of these old reality. All prints would be the same size close to each other with explicative texts related to each image underneath each picture.
This juxtaposition of images will make the viewer fall from one toy into the next one, the same way that kids take and intensely love them all, not being able to decide which one is their favorite.
In combination with the images, some of the toys would be hanging from the ceiling, specially dolls, bold barbies, hair utensils, paper hats, connecting with the images.