Color Compton Internship
6 local Compton youth participated in our 9-week internship that introduced Compton's history and the importance of highlighting local black and brown stories. Students used film and video to create and highlight their own local stories around Compton. Student participants are:
Jimena Perez, 19
Tyson Alamo, 18
Kukim Vazquez, 17
Rin Cornejo, 17
Rubicelia Bonilla, 16
Stephanie Flores, 24
Relearning and remembering the rich agricultural history of the area we know now as Compton and Lynwood is so important to realizing how nature is living and abundant in our own communities. It’s hard to recognize that nature even exists here because we grow up and live in areas shaped by environmental injustices.
Through all the pain and overwhelming loss of the last year, the one thing that has helped me stay grounded and has brought me moments of joy has been gardening and spending time in my backyard. It has allowed me to build a better relationship with my abuelitos who share with me their own knowledge of farming and teach me how important it is to care for the land and to build a mutual relationship with it. Living in cities like ours which lack green spaces, we oftentimes need to remind ourselves that we are not separate from nature, but that we are in it and we are a part of it. Gardening has allowed me to truly care for the environment, care for myself, and to reconnect with my roots and the histories that inform my surroundings.
Through these pieces, I hope to visibilize the abundance of nature in our communities such as the fruits and vegetables we see growing around, the butterflies that visit us, the chickens and dogs that wake us up every morning and night, as well as highlight our very own presence in the environment. I specifically focus on the body of the cactus for my print because it represents resilience, strength, and memory. All characteristics that I observe in my own community’s drive to fight for a better present and future.
My name is Tyson Alamo, I’m an 18 year old with a pip in my step. I’m currently in
community college with plans to transfer and major in psychology. I’ve grown up in Lynwood for
most of my life, driving through the same streets seeing the same things. I am half hispanic and
For most if not all of my life I have struggled with my cultural identity. Culture and
Heritage to me have always felt like a binding pact that would tie me up and never let go.
Something that would let others categorize and judge me for. In my eyes, it was another way to
get hurt.I was never able to feel comfortable with those around me. What was my background?
Who am I to others? Who do I impact? My drawings and paintings have really gotten me closer
to these questions and struggles. In a sense, through my artwork I’ve been able to reclaim many
different aspects of my life.
In this series entitled, “black is black light is light” there are two depictions of a cityscape
showing a dark tone throughout the entire scene with hints of light guiding the viewer towards
the focal point of the painting. And a final print of a tree with its roots. Depicting the idea that no
matter where or who you have become you will always have roots of your culture deep within
What do I think of when I hear Compton?
I think of my home, my family, my pets, and my community. However, this is not the way many people see it. They see it as danger, gangs, drugs. They hold a dark view of Compton. However, Despite the views of many, it is important to highlight and share what is behind the curtain of stereotypes. This is what I decided to convey through my painting. I created images full of light and color that seep through the darkness placed over by society.
As for my prints, it represents my growth while staying connected to my roots. My art reflects how although peoples’ appearances may change, as humans, we maintain the core elements of traditions and beliefs. Although I may not always know everything about my ancestors and their culture, I enjoy taking the time to research and look into their narrative through their art and other works.
These two artworks do not only represent me and my community in the City of Compton, they represent the idea of sharing our experiences and molding them in ways we choose.
-always questioned my self identity
ex: Census- Because of colonialism, I am considered white, but I do not have the privilege that comes with that title. I also have no ties to my indigenous background, so I find it quite hard to fit in anywhere.
-Mask shows a part of my cultural identity as something that I want to show instead of hide.
-Inspired by Frida Khalo's painting "Self-Portrait on the borderline between Mexico and the United States
Our Society's Narrative
-Green represents the statue of liberty
-"Liberty and Justice for all" not real as we can see in recent events such as police brutality and other injustices towards minorities.
-Leaves represent the growth that we wish to see and our demand for change
-Plants grow over things, they don't replace them. This shows how we can't erase our history, but we can learn from it and use it as a platform to inspire change.
I treated you differently
Despite constantly having to walk next to each other.
You needed help and I left you to fend for yourself with no aid.
You went into a daze,
And I stopped acknowledging your existence.
You disgust me.
You were everything I didn’t want to be.
At the same time,
You scared me
Maybe that’s why I avoided you.
Because in reality, I just didn’t know how to work things out with you
I asked for help but that didn’t work.
It wasn’t until you and I were forced in the same room
That I had to face the elephant in the room
Your stench and embrace overwhelmed me
I choked and rolled around the floor in hopes of breathing fresh air
It wasn’t until we set our differences aside and began to work with each other
That I started to feel comfortable with your presence.
Our transparent flesh molded into one
And now nothing is in between you and I.
In the roots are my greatest strengths
But also my greatest heartbreaks
There are also aches that I carry from my mother
Passed down from my grandmother
Some days it feels like my greatest treasure
Not sure who I'd be without them but
also wondering who I could've been
But between our ties I have found the one thing
We all have in common
Pain and survival
The longing for love and understanding
But in the midst of it I have also found
When my spirit is down
The sun guides me home
When my spirit is torn
The mountains teach me resilience
When my spirit is lonely
The rocks teach me solitude
And on the trail of trying to find myself
I realized my heart was falling in love..
She fell in love with her journey
She fell in love with herself
And she found the light within herself
...Gracias Tierra Bendita
Written By: Stephanie Flores-Lopez