Safe Here, With You
ARTIST : MARYSSA CHAVEZ
In communities of color, especially for displaced, migrant, and marginalized people we search for spaces in which we can find community and safety. Whether that be in restaurants with foods that remind us of our grandmothers cooking, dance halls that play the same ranchera you heard in your kitchen in the morning while cleaning house, or in salons where you can meet with community, converse and be taken care of by the people who feel like home. For me salons, and barbershops have been at the very center of my seeking of this comfort.
I am from a small town in northern New Mexico called Espanola, my tia’s Sandra and Nel owned a small salon called, Hidden Beauty’s Hair Salon where they served the community out of my grandparents home down a dirt road. This space was a gathering space, a place for resonada (safe conversations, safety, community, care) this of which was so special to see. My aunts with their short stature, caring for their people, cutting hair for free or in exchange for biscochitos and fry bread. They were both healers in their own right caring for both the emotional and physical needs of their community.
Through this documentary photo based project, Safe Here with You I will be exploring the different spaces in which people here in East Austin find resonada and safety in spaces such as salons, and barber shops specifically and the people who provide these spaces for people to heal in.
The images / photographed are to be displayed outside printed on large pieces of cloth, and a video piece also being projected on to it. I am imagining it in a field on the East Side or in front of local shops to help promote local business as well.