Karina Ramirez is a first-generation Mexican American video and photo artist born and raised in Houston, Texas. Leaving home for the first time five years ago left her feeling lonely and displaced. This led to making work about the Latine community in Massachusetts in an attempt to try and make it a second home, only to realize that everyone she talked to just reminded her of her family even more. Karina started archiving her family using video around 2019 and has no plans of stopping any time soon. Her favorite activities include facetiming her family and screenshotting every funny face they make, listening to Frank Ocean and her “cuando es la quinceañera??” playlist (filled with songs her parents used to listen to when she was younger), as well as going to the movies at 10 a.m. when she’s the only one in the theater.
Con Familia is my attempt at slowing down and paying attention to the small moments with my family: the faces my sisters make when I say something stupid, the tone of my parents’ voices when they talk about the past, and the relationship between my grandma and my mom. There are so many things that I never want to forget. By using the style of the home video, I’m able to capture this idea to the fullest.
The video serves as a recollection of memories that I’ve been privileged enough to experience with my family. Without this archive would I recall, years from now, making pancakes with my mom at 10 p.m. and cackling over the fact that the batter we made was too thick? Would I remember the day we played loteria and screamed out the lyrics to the Mexican songs my sisters and I grew up listening to?
As I grow older, I find myself thinking about the uncertainty of the future and the inevitable aging of all my family members. This uncertainty, although scary to think about for too long, has made it possible for me to fully appreciate every single time I’m able to hear my sisters laugh or my parents yell at me. Con Familia is a love letter to my family–-something tangible that I can look back on and never forget.
Pa, Ma, Dei y Ene, gracias por existir. Si naciera otra vez los escojeria una vez mas para ser mi familia. Los amo.