Allen Park, MI
Social Media: @avanti_felise
Yucatan paper, driftwood, hemp yarn, ink
14.5” x 15” x 1”
Artist Statement: “Sana, sana”
While speaking with Mandi about her battle with breast cancer, I found myself connecting to how she chose to process her fight. After her diagnosis and treatment, she felt she wasn’t in the healthiest mind space; she struggled with how her medical journey was affecting her children and eventually would fall into a depression. Mandi began to seek support and discovered a social media group whose mission was simple—go out and live life. Here, she would meet with a group for monthly brunches, planning trips, etc., giving her a foundation to explore and, more importantly, LIVE.
Having the space to reflect after her initial diagnosis, Mandi talked about her what life is like now—how she gravitates to the outdoors, is open to having adventures, tries not to fear the unknown, and invests in making new memories. During our conversations, I connected with her love of nature and desire for making new memories. Losing my mother to breast cancer has impacted the way I view life. Like Mandi, I find solace in nature, whether walking in the park, swimming, or simply stopping to listen to the sounds of the city. My goal is to not live an idle life, and I can see that in Mandi as well.
As an environmental advocate, it was important for me to use tools that are renewable and organic. For this project, I used sustainable paper from Yucatan, Mexico, drift wood from California, and hemp yarn. The writing itself focuses on the darkest of days—drowning in what seems like a sea of difficult memories. But something calls out. The clouds eventually part, revealing a path to take steps towards healing, leading to new and happier memories. The title comes from a famous Spanish rhyme.
I enjoyed collaborating with Mandi. She reinforced my perspective on what it means to “jump into life.” I hope this piece is a reflection of not only her past experiences, but also of the memories to come.