Volver is a body of work that has been developed from the death of my father in 1993, after the Salvadoran Civil war. Throughout my life I have heard different accounts as to how he died. He was a mechanic, and died in his car. The presence of the car in the work, and light is very important regarding memory as well as metaphors in the work. The time period also marks a time in Salvadoran history, and how the US funded the war. This is important, as the only period when my father and I were alive at the same time, were the last four years of the war. Like many Salvadorans born during the war who lost parents, I never found concrete answers. My father’s death marks a moment in the history of El Salvador’s political turmoil. My research focuses on materials and memory, a moment in the nation’s history that continues to impact countless individual lives in El Salvador.
I have noticed since I moved to Houston from El Salvador 9 years ago, that when I share experiences from my childhood people who were born elsewhere are surprised by my stories. My reaction to guns and bullets have a completely different context. Many people from my generation who lost parents at a young age, were never allowed to grieve, or had very little understanding of the impact of the trauma involved in our experiences. Not only that loss and trauma caused by experiencing it first hand but also for the children of people who fled the war and were born here. This is not just something that happened over twenty years ago, but continues to this day. The uncomfortable history of my father’s life and death, and how these tie into the history of my country, my memories as a a child, and how we or I processed these memories.