G3 Innovation Hub workshop allows community to make art and learn about traditional medicine
As part of the fourth installment of the Guam Green Growth Circular Economy Makerspace and Innovation Hub’s “Seed Talk Sessions,” the facility held a printmaking workshop facilitated by Roldy Aguero Ablao, a queer mixed CHamoru artist and cultural practitioner who explores culture and identity through printmaking, fashion, and more.
The “Seed Talk Sessions” are a series of developmental opportunities offered by the facility in which industry professionals engage island community members to stimulate creativity and encourage local entrepreneurship.
The premise of this workshop involved thinking about ways participants could adorn themselves with imagery reminiscent of Guam.
“Sometimes when we would go on hikes here such as Litekyan or to different family homes, we would go to the jungle and ask for permission. The folks from that land would give us leaves called pupulu aniti, or “spirit leaf.” You wear it on your body as protection close to your chest and heart,” said Ablao. “I found that very sacred, but it also changed the way I related to the land around me. It made me walk a little more gently. It made me breathe a little more deeply because now the land is on me and I am part of the land. We are always part of the land.”
According to Ablao, the steam created by boiling these ferns can help decrease congestion. He added that he would gather these ferns from a friend’s house or a neighbor’s yard and paint them onto shirts to always have a remnant of the land with him.
Participants prepared for the workshop by going on an åmot walk in which they gathered medical plants within the Paseo area. During the walk, they harvested climbing ferns (kahlao) growing on a tree, half-flower (nanåsu) fruit and flowers from the beach strand, as well as leaves from a noni plant near a sidewalk.
After, they reconvened at the G3 Makerspace and made prints of using the materials they gathered by painting onto flowers and stamping them onto a piece of cloth or painting the outline of leaves.
The workshop ended with a chant recited by Ablao and Joseph Certeza, the G3 Makerspace attendant.
When asked about what advice he would give to aspiring creators, Ablao said, “The first word that comes to me is inagofli’e’ which means “to see” or “witness with care.” I want creators to see ourselves with care and know that our stories are worth it even if others do not see that.”