Esperanza Gama: healing her inner child

Citlalli Magali Sotelo

Brushes and papel amate (which she uses as a canvas) are what Mexican visual-artist, Esperanza Gama, uses to transport her dreams into reality. Gama was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco and to pay homage to her hometown, in the cover of her
book, Raíces, fibras magicas – the Catedral de Guadalajara is seen in the iris of the eye. Having grown up in Mexico, Gama remembers that she did not have much as a child, material-wise but a lot of love, from her father who raised her.

Her last series, Niñas de las jacarandas, derives from her childhood imagination and a dream she had in Mexico City. Not only is it dedicated to the jacaranda flowers but it has two other major components, immigration and her inner child. These flowers were brought to Mexico City by an imperial Japanese gardener. “I mixed the healing of the little girl, misunderstood and hurt that I could have been at the time because I was missing the other part of my life, my mother,” recalls Gama. “I did not
have a mother. Although I had a great father, you still always need that [other part]. And I think that was an important part of my inner child that was not completely healed.”

You might be wondering, so what helped heal Gama’s inner child? Well, she says art is therapeutic so that helped heal her. Coming from a very humble family of five, Gama remembers that her sister was always getting sick so all of the attention and dolls would go to her. In Gama’s case, she only ever had one doll and oftentimes she would wonder, why would she not get sick in order to receive more of them. Years later, Gama still finds it incredible how much she really likes dolls and now through
her art and sculptures, she creates a lot of girls. “I don’t know if those are my dolls now,” she asks.

This story originally aired on News Beat, Columbia College Chicago

Eventually, motherhood came to the life of this artist, when her son Alan De la Torre was born. Now 24, De la Torre, remembers that when he was growing up, his mother would always take him to her art shows and he would be the only kid there. “Looking back on having to sit through as a kid, through a boring art show, you know?” he remembers. “Whereas now, I’m recording my mom, super proud and happy to see what’s going on and actually understanding it.”

During Gama’s book presentation at the National Museum of Mexican Art – the crowd gasped in awe when she shared that the last image of Raíces, fibras magicas was dedicated to her son. She painted him when he was a child, out of memory, of him sleeping and surrounding him with little drawings. As a surprise, she shared that those [animal] drawings were her son’s from when he was a child. Gama mentioned she asked him for permission to use them in her painting. “It made me feel very
special how she involved me and how throughout the years she has involved me in different projects making it a point for people to know who I am, and how much she cares about me,” affirms De la Torre.

Alan De La Torre

Being the proud son that he is, De la Torre shares, “she dedicated so much time to me growing up and I was a terrible kid. Throughout all of that she did her best to guide me in the right direction. She always remained calm and collected and did her best for what she had. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in, in any regard.”

To everyone she is the artist, but to him, she is his mother. “I love her, I’m the result of her hard work, for sure,” he says.

Publisher’s Notes: The portion of Gama’s quotes were translated from Spanish to English.

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