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altars to southern california

Wood, plexiglass, and archival inkjet prints. Two feet high x six feet wide.

I am new to California. So new that I have not yet felt an earthquake. So new that I am still amazed that it actually does rain.

The California I believed in as a child was a mysterious land of perpetual recreation and exotic vegetation. I am still learning to reconcile my dream California with the real Los Angeles, where I worry about bills and ride public transportation just as I did living in Philadelphia and New York City. I am also learning how to be a part of my husbandís family, whom I now see every Sunday morning for breakfast, and who have accepted me with open arms in spite of our differences in race, class, and culture.

Altars to Southern California is my attempt to lay claim to space within both my new family and my new location. I made the Altars at my husbandís grandfatherís house in the San Fernando Valley, a true California Dream home if ever there was one, and placed myself right in the center. The landscape is beautiful and strange, just as I once imagined all of California would be.

For me, making the Altars was as much about play-acting my Southern California fantasies (palm trees, tennis courts, swimming pools, and orange groves) as it was about considering my actual life here. It turns out that my fantasy land is, in fact, a real place, and I am always welcome to visit. I love California, and the ways in which it strives to live up to its own mythology. After all, even the run-down apartment building I live in has a swimming pool.