MIAMI IN MIAMI: LESLY GARCIA

Lesly Garcia was born in a small town in Florida amongst the winter of 1999. An american to some but a Hispanic to many, coming from both lovely parents who were raised in Cuba and fought to come to the state to build a better future for their daughter. 21 years old and currently a senior at Florida International University. She is majoring in English with a Literature track.

She is a writer, poet, and painter at heart thanks to her parents. Growing up with her nose rooted in a book and deep in her own imagination, it came as no surprise to those who know her that she wants to write a book of her very own one day. Pulling inspiration from her personal adventures growing up, being in love, battling mental health, and the brutal pain of losing it all, she digs deep into her own woes and allows the sorrows to fuel her writing. Lesly still lives in Florida, with her Canis lovers, Hershey and Nini. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys collecting photocards and love letters, baking sweets, shooting on her vintage film camera, playing her untuned guitar, sipping Cuban coffee, and painting on canvas.

She is a stranger, lover, friend, and daughter experiencing the new sight of Miami through the history from the past that has shaped one’s life, to the many variety of cultures found in a city. This is a city where there’s endless possibilities of creating new memories along with the old whether it is through people, place, or things.

Miami isn’t just a city but a home to many, a home where different cultures come together and become one. A home where strangers become friends and friends become family.
Through this class she will experience a new perspective in life, learning through the meanings behind art, what life is in general when it comes to the environment, and the people that makes the city a better place. This class will offer not just to her but also her peers an opportunity to appreciate what they haven’t before.

A quote that matches this class in which she’s always carried with her is “the two most important days in your life is the day you were born and the day you figure out why”.

Welcome dearly friends to Miami in Miami.

METRO AS TEXT

Photos by Lesly Garcia, Lily Fonte, and Professor John William Bailey CC by 4.0

CREATURE OF HABIT BY LESLY GARCIA
FIU- MIAMI- September 11, 2019.

Oh! dearest love, sweet home of all curious creatures hopes, and joys, and painting miseries.
Tonight, if I may guess, one’s beauty wears a smile of such delight,
as brilliant and as bright as the next.
Each lost in a soft amaze,
I gaze, I gaze into the far distance.
Strangers eager to come out and play,
jumping from one town to the next as the bridge is what separates one from the journey that awaits.
A thousand dreams wrapped up in the feverish man who crosses its way from one side of the metro to the next.
It was in the goldenrod of the morning that strangers and I sent wishes up to the heavenly sky, whispered behind crooked teeth and twisted tongues.
The day became a place where our love lived, departing from one unfamiliar place to the next where we once belonged in a distant past.
A silage of what will one day be a nostalgic memory that only we can recall.
I’ve had dreams like this before- and still do
Strangers and I pacing down the winding roads trying to catch up to one another.
Perhaps it was my overwhelming desire for belonging and acceptance that helped me build a home for each passing person.
A home where one can be seen as equal rather than being separated by just a see-through door of a metro.
Differences and alikeness are what creates us as humans, a past history, a present time, and a future that lies ahead of us.
But even now, to this day, my weary bones are still trying to catch up to that dream that seems far away.
Strangers sitting apart from each other never really conversing with one another,
a line that seems hard to be broken whether it is due to color, age, or social status.
If pushed together even for a small period of time maybe it’ll spark some kind of acceptance with one another.
A metro is not only seen to get from one place to the next, it is a place where one can find their next soulmate whether it is through a romantic love or platonic love. A soulmate that can be through music, art, conspiracy theories, politics, etc.
A see-through door may separate one stranger from the next,
However, it only takes one person to break through it. Breaking the chain of what society says who to be friends with and what or who to love.
May this dream consume me whole, for I am a creature of habit just like the next.
Rummaging through the corners of one’s mind, waiting, tenderly, for one to come out and play along.

VIZCAYA AS TEXT

Photos by Lesly Garcia CC by 4.0

SECRET BY LESLY GARCIA
FIU- COCONUT GROVE- September 25, 2019.

A September spent by the secret gardens of Vizcaya, varying in different shades of flowers and sculptures. Images of what life could have been in the 1900s struck me, keeping me still in front of a waterfall.
 
A woman running carelessly across the warm sand bare feet as I chased after her for a wet, sweaty embrace. Layers upon layers of sunscreen on her freckled cheeks, the place on her shoulders already turning cherry as time lingered. Her heart becomes one with the garden in front of her. Her walls become high, blocking any passage for anyone to discover her true intentions about life. Her voice makes any flower grow from underneath the ground.
 
Through her eyes, I saw all the beautiful chaos swirling around her retina. Her pupils dilated in the dark, standing below the cave as she caught her breath, casting an unformed shadow of a woman with enchanting green eyes. Giggling and spinning in circles. It was a guide, a guide that I must follow through. The guide consists of teardrops, which enhances her own surroundings with an outcast of sympathy and serenity. Her dark hair rustled up with tree branches and petals of blood. It was an unusual sight to see.
 
Her Amazonian figure sat well on her wafer-thin body. She had a decanter shaped waist and her complexion had an impeccable, ochrous hue. Her full edgy eyebrows eased down gently to her black, beetle’s-leg eyelashes. A sculptor could not have fashioned her seraph’s ears and pixie’s nose any better.
 
When she broke into a smile, her beguiling, oyster-white teeth lit up the room. It could jolt me like an electric current when that megawatt smile gave me her full attention. Filed to perfection, her Venus-red fingernails ran through her nougat-brown hair. Spools of it plunged around her photogenic face and hid a swan’s neck, elegant and smooth. I loved her nebulous, Eden-green eyes which were a-sparkle with the ‘joie de vivre’. They were like two beryl-green jewels melted onto snow.
 
When I slowly got close to her like a predator ready to attack its prey, she sprinted, holding her dress up. She moved around the maze of the garden, I slowly being able to reach her with my fingertips. Her giggles, become a sound of music to my ears. She touches the sculpture in front of her and screams “Ha, I win what’s my prize?”
 
With a smile of mine I responded, “What would you like it to be?”
 
“First and foremost, I’ll need someone to escort me to the founder’s ball…” She slowly walked away, a smile still playing on her beautiful lips.
 
“I will be honored with pleasure,” I softly said to her.
 
She stops from her short walk, “the smart and kind Garcia coming to my rescue.”
 
We climbed up the steps and sat on a bench, capturing her hand in mine. I thought, ‘I would love to have this moment live with me forever’.
 
Our lips crashing together in unison with every wave. Her calamine-pink lips tasted like rose petals. It surprised me that they were plump and not botox-boosted as she had a demure, timorous personality. She whispered to me in a dulcet voice as sweet as any songbird. Her voguish clothes still kept captive an aroma redolent of cinnamon and meadow-fresh mint.
 
The images slowly faded away. Her delicious scent lingered around my surroundings long after her presence had gone. Her eyes became an image stuck in my brain as I left Vizcaya behind.

DEERING AS TEXT

Photos by Lesly Garcia CC by 4.0

THE CRIES OF THE FOREST BY LESLY GARCIA
FIU- Miami- October 13, 2019.

Life: better yet known as a cycle is formed through a series of events of one’s passing time (existence). Where one meets, grow something beautiful, and later on departure. Leaving behind lost traces of generational mammal decomposition and traces of one’s existence. Whether it is through art work inside a cave or a bed made out of rocks in the center of the woods.
 
Deering Estate is not a place to just visit, it is home. It cries out to each and every one of us but only a certain few can hear it. The cries of solitude and peace. It is a habitat for an infinite bundle of plants and animals, many of which are still yet to be discovered. It is a place in which supplies oxygen for many to survive. When centered in the middle of a forest and quietness takes over, one comes to realize and understand that one is connected with everything. We connect to the life force of trees, to the birds singing its lovely tunes, to the bones of a once live raccoon, etc. We surrender to the endless deaths and rebirth.  
Many die before us, giving a piece of themselves to the world whether it is through lessons and histories or by becoming one with the soil of the ground in which we walk on. Nurturing the plants and bugs, so that the next animal in the food chain may eat, and so on. The human soul along with the animals need areas in which where the environment has not been reconstructed. Deering Estate is one of those places in which it has not been rearranged, but rather grown and nurtured. Different kinds of animals lurk behind the bushes of the forest and an about to be an extinct butterfly fly over the heads of many of the students showcasing as a sign of hope that maybe just maybe there is still hope to come.
 

CHICKEN KEY AS TEXT

Photos by Lily Fonte and Gabriela Lastra CC by 4.0

INVADERS BY LESLY GARCIA
FIU- MIAMI- October 23, 2019.

Red hot liquid grows from the sole of my feet. A bubble wrapped around me with no punctured holes makes the air feel so thick that I could barely breathe. As the liquid reaches my shoulder blades, panic arises. Kicking and scratching, the bubble wouldn’t bulge not even a fair minimum. Anger consumes my very own being. A small sound coming from another person’s mouth can be the end of them (figuratively). Words flow out of my mouth as it forms its own sentence without the permission of the owner, myself. These words cut deep on the stranger’s flesh. Each cut being a different word or sentence thrown at them. Hurting them like it hurts me. Yet they aren’t the solution or the problem to my own.
 
Taking a walk around the Deering Estate, I stumbled upon at the very back a body of water. The soft breeze kisses my cheeks as it cools my temper. Trees dance to a slow lullaby, groups of fish racing to their finish lines as they jump through some of their obstacles, birds flying high in the sky, etc. A boat awaited in one corner…. Calling my name to take a seat. My legs took me to it, placing one leg in front of the other. As my bum touched the wooden seat, the water began to push the boat out with no destination in mind.
 
Intruders maneuvered their way into the homes of many. A cigarette butt, plastic containers/ cups, plastic bags, etc. My anger only grew but more this time for a sole purpose. What I worried about before became the size of the ants compared to what I was worrying about in that instance. The animal’s home is becoming a toxic habitat. Toxic in the sense of them breathing, swimming around, and feeding on it. These poor creatures are dying because of the hands of my people, becoming more and more than each day passes extinct or endangered.
 
The animals begged to be helped as my hands reached out to grab the intruders. Hours passed that same day, and within those hours the boat became a mountain of intruders. Each intruder is being kicked out by a bodyguard (myself). Yet from the looks of it, one boat can even feel suffocated. So, we sent a second and a third boat with many more bodyguards. The anger became nonexistent but only the feeling of worry and contempt filled my body. Worried for the next day, for that same body of water could be invaded yet again eventually but contempt for having the power to help.

WYNWOOD AS TEXT

Photos by Lesly Garcia CC by 4.0

A BEGINNING AND AN ENDING BY LESLY GARCIA
FIU- MIAMI- DESIGN DISTRICT-  November 6, 2019.

A string of twinkling lights hangs from the ceiling and falls onto the floor. Two strings being what connects one from the other almost as if it was a message. Yet those messages could decipher more than one meaning. It could mean one person is the same as the next, or it could just mean one person has lived two kinds of live. The heart break of a family, friend, or foe… and the second being the heartbreak of death. The artist (Felix Gonzales- Torres) left it to the viewer’s interpretation, never inputting what it could really mean. Yet he did leave one clue, that every light that goes by equals the light of the human being. For one day one just simply die just like the light dies out.

Light is like a soul, it can live a long lifetime or it can live a short one at that. For each light bulb is different from the next. As each contain its own set of bolts but run through the same power line. The set of bolts could be one’s uniqueness in life yet the power line could be the same life force one contains to live, like a beating heart.

This artist along with another (Wade Guyton), seemed to contain the same ideas about the beginning and the ending of things. Unlike Felix Gonzalez- Torres, Wade Guyton revolved his work around the idea of a cartilage printing ink. Each tablet or should I say canvas had different cartilages of ink. When one ran out, he would grab the other canvas and use a new cartilage. When looking at this beautiful masterpiece it contained a certain replica meaning behind Felix’s. Which is why he probably asked to have his work next to the other artist. His meaning alike Felix is there is always a beginning and an ending to things, yet just like light bulbs that at times one might die right before the rest so does an ink cartilage. See how the black ink at times end earlier than the next or lasts longer than the next. It is all a message that many know about but at times need reminding, that life is too short. This should give the viewers the motivation to take this message and hold it deeply, and as well to live to their fullest for one may never know when it is their time to say their goodbyes.

HISTORYMIAMI AS TEXT

Photos by Lesly Garcia CC by 4.0

TREASURES BY LESLY GARCIA
FIU- Miami-November 20, 2019.

A passage of time lies ahead in HistoryMiami. Documented information or artifacts of our ancestor’s existence play a role in the shape of humanity. Telling their story and passing it on to younger generations as a reminder to keep fighting for what they wish for. From a knife made of a bone of an alligator, to a society of human beings winning against nature’s predators, to a race of people wishing to escape from another race only to be free, to then a railroad construction and the power to vote only once, to a bus and how the world slowly became more modern, and lastly to two different boats with the same problem from home but different outcomes.

To see how the world is documented and saved as precious treasures astounds me. It astounds me more to know that many folks have yet to see these treasures, many go by their day never taking a moment to appreciate how society has grown and still has yet to grow. Indulging myself in the stories told from each room as I felt a sense of wonder. Almost as if I was there in those times. Crazy how the mind can create moving images, placing the person in a scene where they have never stood or lived. Yet with these images I grow more love for others.

A story in which struck me the most was when the lovely tour guide Maria Moreno spoke of the differences between the boat and the raft. How the boat was sailed by a couple of Haitians who were seeking refuge. Wishing to live a life that would be better for their young ones. Along with the raft that arrived with five Cubans seeing refuge. However, each receiving a different outcome. How crazy the world is to turn their back on a race due to their color of skin. When we do not differ from the next. Yet this problem has been known way back as well and to this day it still is.

These treasures are a reminder of not to be who you want to be but also a reminder to keep fighting for rights rather than wrongs. To stand with different nationalities, race, sexuality, etc. And to believe that we the people can do right, but only if we truly try. The treasures of the past and its troubles only remind us to go forward rather than backwards. To never have to deal with the same footsteps many went through. But to only push forward and seek for the better in the people and the world. Better yet…

TREAT PEOPLE WITH KINDNESS.

ART MIAMI AS TEXT

Photos by Lesly Garcia CC by 4.0

HIDDEN GEMS BY LESLY GARCIA
FIU- Miami Beach-December 4, 2019.

Throughout the first half of the course in Miami in Miami, Professor Baily taught the class what it means to live in a city. Where all the hidden gems could be found and what one learns from their experience in being first hand in a place where many consider it as home. Art revolves all around one’s being, from it being nature, to the history of our ancestors, and lastly to a man-made canvas or sculptures. On our last stop for the semester, Professor Baily finished the class with a BIG BANG. A big bang indeed.

A divergent collection of art pieces from across the globe, standing proudly within both of the fairs found within Miami: UNTITLED and ART MIAMI. UNTITLED welcomed guests with open arms as each slot or space within contained different artists from different nationalities. Tackling down one’s significance of their historical, social, and cultural identity. Their art enables controversial topics; however, they try to address it in a way by reminding us of its power in a political and literary way. It also reflects the changes from something so traditional to something so contemporary, and times it comes hand in hand. We find examples of this within the beautiful art works of Kawayan de Guia, Joana Choumali, Arlés De Río, etc.

As one sees the different pieces from each booth, their minds expand with the knowledge of each artist’s background. An artist who fell ill but painted in bed, pictures she once took on an IPhone from her trip to Africa. An organic artist that went on a canoe for a couple of days, checking upon the mangroves for they are an indicator of health in the ecosystem. He worked with a team of his own, researching more about the topic and in ways creating ceramics based on the structure of the mangrove for the pleasure of the aesthetic and because it is conceptual. An artist who plays with space and with nature perspectives. An artist who taught herself to sow, who has a tapestry skill along with photographing. An artist who creates African symbols through ceramics. An artist who focuses more on geometry imperialism, etc.

The word Artist and its meaning is far beyond just one definition, for they are more than what my hands can count.

ART MIAMI is another amazing fair that was brought to life by many other artists. However, the difference between ART MIAMI and UNTITLED is that this fair is a second-hand seller within this fair many of the artworks contained a prison painting with bright neon colors to a Swarovski crystal Buddha to an in-depth perception railroad, etc. Never in my life would I have been able to say I’ve witnessed and saw firsthand a Pablo Picasso art work. It was funny seeing his little doodles and then left breathless when hearing about its price. Aside from new incoming artists and their art pieces that seemed to stand out the most due to their colors and sense of style on it. There was also an artist aside from Pablo Picasso in which I’ve heard about here and there, Basquiat and Banksy.

I applaud and praise many artists as I come to learn how long it takes to finish an art piece of their own and how well done it is as they focus on the smallest details. Their work of art brings attention in a global stance as they point out the good and the bad, never focusing on just one side of the spectrum. With what I’ve learned, I hope to carry it with me. To never give up, reach for my dreams, and know that in my heart I can do this. For the only person who holds me back is me alone.  

Everglades as Text

Photo by Professor Virginia Ansaldi CC by 4.0

ROOTS BY LESLY GARCIA

FIU- Everglades- January 22, 2020

Within the walk the surfaces were quite bumpy, some had a steep hole and others were flat surfaces. A stick is what kept us from falling, falling to the traps that the animals have made underwater. Alligators lurking on the sideline, away from their prey. They hide in the depths of the water either sleeping or relaxing under the blazing sun in a cold day. Pig frogs chanting their lullabies nearby, birds joining in with their own tune, and the flies moving around in a loop of circles. 

The class were witnessing the beauty behind the everglades through a tour. A tour that has kept us speechless yet wanting to ask even more questions. The student’s eyes were hypnotized by the movement of the water, they smiled and laugh whenever they were close to hitting the water face first when a secretive deep hole laid ahead of them, and the teacher was watching closely as the trees move when the wind kisses it.

Two species of cypresses are found within the everglades, the bald cypress (which goes by the name taxodium distichum) and the pond cypress (taxodium ascendens). Aside from this the area contains a variety of plants and trees in which thrive within the wetland habitat. With 2 million acres of divergent living things, lays the saw grass, bladderwort, and mangrove trees as well. This is Florida’s beautiful treasure. People can come and visit, learn about the wonderful heart of Florida through a bike ride, paddling, and/or going on a tour. Their rangers are trained and well informed about the everglades and its hidden treasures.  They have great spirit and vibes. 

Everglades is a home to many, not just to their animals but to their people as well. It is a place where one can feel at peace and connected to their roots of being born on Earth.

South Beach as Text

Photo by Blanca Alcaraz CC by 4.0

OUT OF FASHION BY LESLY GARCIA
FIU- SOUTH BEACH- February 19, 2020.

At the start of the late 1960s, a revived spirit of interest towards the design of Art Deco flourished. Entering the 21st era, Art Deco became an influence towards fascinating fields of art, whether it was a decorative art, a custom piece, or a jewel design. South Beach holds the central heart of Art Deco. The trend was manifested through notable characteristics in western Europe and the United States throughout the 1930s. The custom was discovered to be first displayed in Paris, where its title originated from the “Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes.” It held a style that incorporated a sense of beauty in which it represented prosperity and poise in the times. An instance in which to this date the Art Deco is being used is in the grand hotels called, Park Central Hotel, Starlite Hotel, and Beacon Hotel.

With its newly updated art deco-style studios that include grand bedding, marble lavatories, mini-bars, sleek furniture, etc. South Beach is thought to have the nation’s highest collection of Art Deco architecture, which, as stated in the Greater Miami and Beaches site, “features over 900 historic buildings.” These localities include pastel-colored homes that are ornamented with compelling innovations, from its polished shades, chrome accents, etc. A historic preservationist, Barbara Baer Capitman, made it her mission to maintain, guard, and boost the image and uprightness of the South Miami Beach Historic District.

One way to fully differentiate modern architecture style from Art Deco is through the construction it is finished with like chrome, glass block, aluminum, iron, etc. They also contain a robust perpendicular accent to it. Art Deco also uses uncommon styling visions, an example of one being nature. It would involve a remarkable form of falls, aurorae, palm tree leaves. Aside from South Beach, people can find Art Deco architecture around other locations in Miami, like the Actor’s Playhouse at the Miracle Theater in Coral Gables.

Work Cited

“Art Deco Historic District in Miami Beach: South Beach, FL.” In Miami Beach: South Beach, FL, http://www.miamiandbeaches.com/thing-to-do/attractions/art-deco-historic-district/2116.

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