As an artist, Ana Teresa Fernandez uses her imagination as her weapon to challenge today’s political rhetoric by erasing borders with sky blue paint and wearing ice stilettos in the streets of Oakland. She re-tells myths and folklore that cements us to limited ways of thinking, and paints alternate truths to tear down psychological and physical barriers.
TBT Feb 9th 2017, at Newseum in Capitol Hill, at one of the most difficult professional moments … Delia Cohen, the TEDX consultant & I clocked in over 18 hrs of skype meetings, and close to 30 written drafts for my talk in just one month. We finished the last draft 48 hrs before I got on a plane to Washington DC, and which I had to memorize word for word. She had asked the coordinator to get me an extension & allow my talk to be 16 min instead of 12. “Every word matters” Delia kept saying, “and all these stories need to be told!” I was the only artist & youngest person on TEDX Pennsylvania Ave. amidst politicians & greats like Philippe Cousteau & Sonia Nazario. Nervous is not even close to being the right word. The pressure of that platform is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. All speakers sat like ghosts in the green room, trying to find a closet or corner to collect ourselves before going out to speak. I remember Philippe hid himself between two big recycling bins, and put his head between his knees. Someone did jumping jacks. Those words I memorized my bones already knew so well. Undressing your skin to reveal what’s inside is the hardest part. What people don’t know is that after the talk & reception I got to my hotel room and sat on the floor crying, beating myself up over and over, thinking I could have done better, fought harder, been a better voice for artists, but also scared & so exposed to have opened up so much. Feeling a huge vulnerability- hang over. The political change was palpable in Capitol Hill. And I was terrified of what was to come with this presidency, to us artists, to migrants to so many people … So, I called my mom, and from across the US she helped me to collect myself again. Saying “Gordita está bien… día a día” it’s ok, one day at a time. Today you did the best you could… “
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