Madrugada Nacimiento (Corona Santa) is a votive image depicting the vulnerability and strength of a Nicaraguan- American pregnant woman and front line worker (from a mixed race and immigration status family), taken while the Covid19 pandemic was crowning in Miami. During the pandemic, hospital births were increasingly dangerous in Miami where the highest rates of maternal death in the industrialized world were recorded. Birthing advocates such as extended family or doulas were forbidden from hospital wards resulting in increased birthing complications and death rates amongst already vulnerable populations. Sacrificing critical community support, institutions performed a legacy of institutionalized racism and structural violence in medicine, resulting in an increase of in-home deliveries.
The Corona Santa offers essential, syncretic cultural traditions such as prayers to a votive patron saint figure, against the veil of overlapping crisis during the height of the Corona virus pandemic. Culture is medicine when these vital practices are central to the survival of Latinx birthing people of color whose assimilation into US American violence. Saint Corona was martyred for professing her Christian faith to the Roman Empire around 165 a.c.e. According to Roman Martyrology, she was arrested in Syria and tied by her feet to the tops of two palm trees which were bent to the ground. When the palms were released in the morning, she was torn apart. Santa Corona is venerated in Austria and Bavaria as the Patron Saint against epidemics.
The Linea Negra series photographs (2008-present) documents the inception of gender, power and race structures from slogans, slang, maxims and "old wives tales" to internalized, institutional violence. The works celebrate the melanin line appearing during gestation (most prominent in women of color) as a biological pieta; the first biographical mark on the procreative body and the first sign of our creative humanity.