Alina Fresquez Patrick

How to grow una flor en el desierto

How to grow una flor en el desierto examines the intergenerational trauma of spousal abuse; violence against women, and how memories of people seep across new places and generations. In my mother’s old family albums, the women – especially my grandmother Tillie – are demure and lovely. However, after viewing them as an adult with an awareness of the violence Tillie and the other women in my family were subject to, the photographs appear hollow and incomplete. Photography is a dangerous way to remember people — it is often untrue, glossy, and misleading. This project is a radical intervention into both the family photo album and the practice of remembering. In How to grow una flor en el desierto, Tillie’s absence is made visible in image as her form merges into the land where she died. Bodies and geographies from old family photographs melt together and are mixed with new images of New Mexico that I made with an informed perspective and an active yearning to fully remember. The inclusion of poetry invites the reader further into these family stories and provides  an outline to the events which the images subtly portray. Places do live inside us as memories do, and in revisualizing the images – which only told half truths about vulnerable family members – this work is an attempt to look at homeland and the past with an honest stare.

Pages: 88

Binding: Perfect

Paper: Mohawk Superfine, and Via

Size: 9" × 12"

Edition: 96

Printing: Risograph (Black, Red, Yellow, Purple, Gold), Foil Stamp (cover)

Typeface: Adobe Jenson – Robert Slimbach

Cover illustration by Abelardo S. Garcia

Book Documentation by Kevin Kunstadt. 

This publication was made possible by the Penumbra Foundation 2023 Risograph Print and Publication Residency and the generous support of the EUREKA! studio.

Click here to view the project on the Penumbra Foundation's website and read Littal Melnik's interview with Alina about the making of the project.

Limited first edition copies of this book are still available for purchase through the Penumbra Foundation's store.


Using Format