My work is influenced by my cultural heritage. I am a lower middle class Peruvian urbanite who came to the United States when twenty-five.
In Latin America family ties are strong. Within our catholic, conservative, macho chauvinistic realm, we gravitate around our parents either to venerate or censor, with love and/or resentment. We are theirs, they are ours.
Cultures purest representation is the family unit. Therefore, as a product of my parents, my family, I am a product of Peruvian culture. A culture that anchors me and reiterates my sense of belonging.
My father, Hernán Velarde Vargas, a very charismatic individual, extraordinary Peruvian journalist and heavy smoker, grew up hustling poverty, fighting against all odds to keep his cultural heritage and have a voice and an opinion within a landscape hostile to what he represented: The Peruvian Andes in the 60’s. He is his geographical, social and cultural context. I see in him my own people, our social drawbacks, our immense talent and creativity, our passion and drama and many of our cultural particularities. I see in him the contradictions and dangers of a society such as Peru, mirrored in myself. In homage to his memory, my sister Vida Velarde and I, are summoning his presence through the smoke of all the cigarettes he smoked, listening to his voice, one more time, and again..
VULVA Y VALVULA 2003
Love affairs from the past?
Pain, suffering and doubt?
Never more, never more…
Wrapped in the nostalgia from other times that will never come back, amist all the noises that surround me, away from home: My father’s voice always comes thru.