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Artist in the Spotlight: Introducing Student Fellow Valeria Sawers

Every month “Artist in the Spotlight” proudly celebrates the work of one of IDA’s multi-talented student fellows.

“This series was created to highlight the connection between homelands and displaced bodies. Despite the displacement of my own body, my homelands remain within me. We are one and the same.” 

This is what love feels like. This is the sun in Honduras. 

Abstracted silhouettes of mountains against a tan sky stitched onto a beige cloth, held taut by an embroidery hoop. The mountains are light pink, salmon-pink, and a deep blue, in descending order. There are two suns on opposite ends of the piece--one is a brownish pink and on the top left of the piece, while the other is yellow and at the bottom right corner of the piece.

It feels like the Honduran sun shining on my Honduran skin. Like the coconuts abuelo cut with a machete for us.

Love feels like the seaweed that kisses your feet, your legs.

It feels like mami’s big hair clips and her thick hoops.

It tastes like the platanos we had for breakfast, and for lunch, and then again for dinner.

It looks like the caracol papi spent all day catching.

True love sounds like the moon whispering in my ear, sharing all of her secrets.

Honduras loves me back, she loves me with all of her oceans and seas, tells me I must love myself too.

This is what true love feels like, it feels like being Central American.


The earth loves me back, and so she gave me banana leaves.

Four banana leaves stitched onto a beige cloth, held taut by an embroidery hoop. The leaves are outlined with light pink thread, while the stems are outlined with a lavender thread.

I want to swallow the Sun.

Feel it grow hot in my stomach, radiating light.

I often wonder what it would be like to be in love with you.

Would it feel like the wind blowing through our hair as we ride in the back of papi’s pickup truck after a day at the beach?

Or would it feel like the conchas we spent all night looking for under the moonlight? Maybe I should stop looking for ways to love you, and instead love myself.

The breaking of Pangea on the great turtles back.

A sea turtle stitched onto a beige cloth, held taut by an embroidery hoop. The edges of the sea turtle's shell are colored in with alternating blocks of blue and blue-green, while the rest of the sea turtle remains an outline of light blue.

My body is returning to the earth, the sea.

Her first home is calling her back.

There are plants here, growing inside my heart.

Fillin the tears with roots, with green and pink leaves. This is unearthing,

This is coming home.