When we migrate, when we move through a territory, our identity, culture, language and worldview also migrate. The use of herbs and medicinal plants have traveled in space and time, as well as the knowledge about the uses of traditional Indigenous medicine. Migrant Herbalism is a collaborative project that recovers the knowledge and use of Indigenous herbalism through blueprint photography and oral history.
Through the realization of art workshops, I invite Indigenous and Latine migrants to become active participants. We create a series of photographs made using the cyanotype process. The imprinted materials are the medicinal herbs, barks, minerals and seeds of our ancestral origin that we find in New York City’s Mexican groceries and botanicas that also migrated with us. Through acts of listening, we share collective memories and stories about the traditional knowledge of herbs and their healing properties that for many generations have been shared by the ancestors of contemporary migrants. Workshop participants write down these stories and information in the form of poetry, short stories, or recipes. Finally, with the resulting photographs and texts, the participants make a handmade herbal book.