One of the most aesthetically pleasing moments of cultural celebrations is the attire. How a people adorn themselves is fascinating. When people are intertwined into the wonders of nature, Mother Earth becomes their source of inspiration. A people’s cultural attire reflects how they have cultivated their positioning on a particular land, and how they have defined themselves, from their surroundings. In turn, cultural attire and dress, symbolizes the collection of movement and artistry performed; when a people are reflecting their existence, in alignment with the Earth.
Within any culture, it is the women who create, craft, design, and preserve the culture. Attire is very important, as it highlights how the feminine presence chooses to define herself, within her own special way. Out of her own creativity and from how she will tell the story of her people. In that story and decorative tradition, she will set the foundation for the movement of her people; and they will follow. Cultural attire are story decorations into how a people have maintained and preserved their existence. When you continue to exist, it is only natural that you show off that particular story and narrative.
For this current celebration of LatinXHeritageMonth2020, there is a particular theme and guide, surrounding the Greenville Journal and their capturing of different cultures of Latino communities; through the dressing of women. The very photographs, by Will Crooks, of the attire attracts you to those hidden stories. You desire to know more. The colors. Shapes. Designs. Floral arrangements. How the women twirl, dance, and pose within this attire guides the viewer in wanting to know more. What is their particular culture in the quilt of womanhood? What are their stories? What are the feminine stories in how they have navigated the landscapes, within their domain? Its an exciting tale to imagine. Its the movement and dancing of time, and you find yourself enchanted in the very culture, itself.
I examine the culture, and I observe stories. Feeling every titillation of their magic. Those dancing, culinary, feel good, make ya’ wanna’ dance kind of stories. Yet, they are felt to be even more nourishing and nutritious, when we join in. Standing from afar to observe the photographs, observers are provided with a different story. Its a much more captivating narrative than the stereotypes we are used to hearing when it comes to Spanish-speaking communities from South and Central America, and parts of the Caribbean. In these photos, we observe richness. We observe abundance. Furthermore, they go to illuminate the significance of woman, within any culture of people. Her presence brings life, and ensures that a community will be fed. As long as woman does not give up hope for the brightening of tomorrow, there will always be hope for any nation. I look at these photos and I imagine those mother and maiden figures, who continue to feed their families, communities, and people, in the midst of whatever political and economic crisis is happening. I imagine their cries, their laughter, their anger, and joys. I hear their irritations and dreams for a better Cuba. A better Honduras. A healthy Venezuela. A brighter Guatemala. And etc. Etc. Etc. That’s what makes those stories even more enriching.
Image has the power to feed a nation. Feminine beauty, and its intertwining to the Universal, has the authority to inspire a nation. What better way to inspire than the culture of, dress? They say that when you look good, you feel good. It is true. Simultaneously, the desire to feel good comes from within. From the inside is the radiancy of allowing those feel good feelings to gloss onto the outside. That’s the very essence of true Beauty.
Singlehandedly, one-by-one, you observe a photo and understand that within these stilled photographs, there is movement within these very images. Simply put, you have to get quiet enough to listen to them. In fact, these photos are filled with so much life and awakening. Magic glitters through every component of this photo. Those standing in one position demonstrate magical eloquence, in their own way. Movement is everflowing. The faces of each of woman lights up, as the camera captures every part of their glow. Clearly, this is the beauty of Latino/a cultures, which needs to be presented in the media, more and more. What makes this an auspicious occasion is the enchantment within the photographs. Each attire invites the viewer to feel as if they are in another world-a fictional world to be exact. Even if you have never been to a South American, Central American, or Spanish-speaking nation in the Caribbean, you at least gain a taste of what those cultures must be, should you decide to voyage there one day. There is beauty arising within each of those cultures, and one is sure to observe how they are able to move forward.
Flipping through the photographs, the viewer can allow their imagination to go array. Each piece is a story of Maiden or Mother characters, who symbolize abundance and wellness, within each of their stories. That’s the power of dress, and cultural attire. They dare to take you into different worlds. They possess knowledge and create fantasy, within a realistic world. Through this photographic collection, for the Greenville Journal, one has the power to do just that. Standing from afar, I envision literature, theater, music, and the visual arts. The cultural richness of such domains are also reflected in attire. Anyone looking at these photos has the opportunity to envision Spanish rhythms and rhymes. Just imagine these being digital masterpieces, that one can jump into; all the while partaking oneself into the world of fantasy and fiction. The very thoughts are breathtaking.
The capturing of young girls of Latina/o communities adds to the wonderlands, for the celebration. Again, their childlike nature provides additional magic to the festivities; as its only a wonder found in childhood’s domain. What proves to be more vital is the arena of excitement and abundance, among the little girls in the photo. Their dress and childhood innocence, leads viewers into their own imagination of exploration and delight. A myriad array of questions gives us the space to ponder. If I traveled to Colombia, what would I see? If I ventured to Bolivian landscapes, what festivities await me? Through cultural attire, a person is provided with the opportunity to see travel as more than seeing, something new. On the contrary, visitors or travelers would be granted the opportunity to experience enriching tales for their own lives, through the very basis of being in another land. Furthermore, one has the opportunity to envision what it means to discover different parts of their own personal Being, when placed within foreign lands. Its another form of travel wellness.
What’s fascinating regarding these photographs is how they invite viewers, and visitors to the festivities, to experience the foreign, right in Greenville, South Carolina. That’s another beauty to analyze and partake in. Even if a person has never glaced their footprints ??? outside of the area, they have Spanish-speaking cultures brought to them. Its a wonder, in the very least. How the different capturing of Latinas is highlighted, through the lens of cultural attire, is what creates the illusion of entering into a magical world, once visitors venture into the festivities. Again, dress permits an individual to feel as if they are venturing into a foreign land, without stepping foot, within. When they are as elegant as the attire presented in these photos, observers cannot help, but to think positively about another culture. Whatever stereotypes or negative perceptions plaguing their minds, against Latina/o communities and people, are forced to come to a halt. When culture is presented, and performed, as a positive, its beauty has to be acknowledged. There is no way around it.
In cultural attire and dress ? ? ? there is healing. When a woman adorns herself in her own creativity, and cultural decor, she is empowered. Her unique contribution to the very storytelling of woman is acknowledged. Her womanhood is affirmed. After all, a woman cannot feel the richness of her femininity, if she is not connected with it. Clothes give her the ability to do just that. Simultaneously, when those clothes are fashioned in the way of the land, there is a greater richness to the story. Furthermore, a people’s navigation with the Earth becomes a focal point of celebration.
The Greenville Journal’s photographic celebration of LatinX Heritage Month 2020 is one of the most nourishing components of this national celebration. It may not have reached national news. Nevertheless, it has reached the audience, who are willing to venture out and see how other parts of the country are celebrating. Glamour of Latina/o communities are presented as acceptable. What they have contributed to the realm of humanity is presented in plain sight. Forget the news stations. Forget what we hear and see on mainstream television. Through these images, when people hear Latina/o, they envision beauty and wonder in fiction’s reality. Poetry, dance, family, music, culinary, and the safeguarding of tradition come into play. Cultural richness, alone, is displayed through how a people dress. Within each of the photos, there is the essence of creativity and pride. Women are provided with a sense of liberation. There are intimacies of being the cultural bearers, for one’s community. Being vigilant in one’s culture, and representing one’s Maidenal image, is a source of pride. That’s one of the blessings of Being a woman; and especially, when one has done the work of building and preserving community. Every woman has her domain- her particular position on Earth’s paradise, where reflections of her existence are prevalent. A place where her image, is the feminine image, for that specific culture and people. Its refreshing. Without that, a woman cannot truly experience the treasures of womanhood. If we don’t learn anything else, let this be one of the key lessons.
Look through these images again, and allow them to occupy some space in your mind. Another lasting impression is how these images should inspire women to express themselves. From wherever you are, your cultural domain, express your feminine image. Let her flow well, and in holistic wellness in this quilt of womanhood. Celebrate the myriad forms of creativity, through the realm of love’s comfort and embrace. Adorn yourselves in the manner and movement, in how you have cultivated Earth’s landscapes and desires for your people. When your image walks through the Earth, what does she imagine? What does she hear, sense, taste, touch, and feel? How does she envision those birthed from her image, and their ability to navigate (and create in) the land, in the way she has blessed them to be? These are the deeper tellings of cultural adornment. Through the Greenville Journal, we gain a taste into how different cultures of Latina women are moving their people in the Earthly ways of their domain. In the very end, cultural decor is an Earthly adornment, and how humanity imitates their natural environment. For this time around, and through the Greenville Journal, we are given Earthly vibes, with dressings of a Spanish touch!
For more information on the Greenville Journal, kindly go to the following link: https://greenvillejournal.com/community/how-to-celebrate-hispanic-heritage-month-in-the-upstate/
(Note: All photos used in this article are the work of William Crooks. These photographs are the sole property of Greenville Journal, and are not for commercial uses.)