El lugar de la memoria: Where Memory Lies
Memory, belonging and continuity beginning with history, unthinkable events somehow unnamed that will remain somewhere, that will get retold, once and once again. Letting the storyteller continue unravelling and recuperating moments. Memory giving us context and place, a geographic and historical site with references to the past and, at the same time, placing us in an active present time, making my actions relevant to this here, and now, in a space of absolute belonging. Perhaps this is why we, migrants repeating our millenary customs with some sense of attachment, continue to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary and so then a story must be told. This article explores the distinctive roles that memory play in the context of migration. Memory dynamic is constructed in dialogue with others, and resides in artistic expression, or what Paul Willis calls cultural penetrations. Memory contextualizes our actions and functions as emotional sustenance. For those living outside their culture of origin, by choice or forced, there is a constant tension in our daily negotiations with the surrogate country: a tension between conflicting desires and responsibilities that memory helps to alleviate. Memory and the reinvention of one's histories mediate between current geographic locations and imaginary homes by providing a sense of place and belonging. Looking at the role that memory plays for Latin American migrants in Australia, I reflect on my own experiences utilizing a bilingual mode of expression that includes personal accounts, excerpts from artists’ testimonials, and photographic documentation.
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