After years of grief, despair, and internalized questioning, my current body of work is a welcome return to love, joy, and comfort. Handmade quilts, clothing, and stuffed toys are manifestations of love. My mother and grandmother crafted these items for their families, so with my recent work I pay tribute to the lineage of women makers I come from.

While admiring my grandmother Petra Barrios Guerra’s patchwork quilt she made for my father (featured in the photograph above), I had the revelation that I’m also pieced together. Since childhood I’ve treasured her two-sided quilt and now identify with the many disparate parts sewn side by side and back to back. In these colorful pieces I see my multiple selves: a filmmaker and photographer, a poet and songwriter, a maker and artist — all joined together in a peculiar yet charming harmony. With my grandmother’s patchwork quilt as inspiration; I’m bringing together all my identities, passions, and skill sets into a single multidisciplinary art practice as a unifying act of personal healing.

The heartbreaking illness and death of my father, Luis Angel Guerra, in 2018 brought an overpowering desire for self-expression. It’s no cliché to say art saved my life. My grief gave my art practice a purpose — to heal myself through making and subsequently to offer a collection of works providing that same cathartic experience to audiences.

My restorative mediums include inspiring documentary films, playful self-portrait photography series, altar installations as a space for solace, a collection of uplifting music and poetry that bring light to all the darkness, and most recently, comforting handmade soft sculptures of stuffed toys, dress pillows, and quilted dresses. I strive to bring joy back into my art practice as a contrast to the darkness of grief I’ve endured. My hope is to shift seamlessly through mediums and create an emotionally rich experience for audiences.

Portrait: Loved Ones, Digital Photograph, 2020

© 2023 Angela Guerra Walley