Ready to Immigrate is Displayed at Artist Alliance at the Museum 2017, Oceanside Museum of Art, Oceanside March 4-August 28, 2017.
Trish Vernazza was born and raised in Tampa, Florida, the Sunshine State, which made her an original “Tampon”. As a young teen she experienced racial divide, desegregation and women still not having Equal rights, as it was not ratified in Florida until 1982. In 1971 Trish was bused to a black and ethnic neighborhood for Junior High. This school bordered on the edge of Ybor City, the home of the Cuban Cigar, Café Con Leche and Cuban sandwiches and ethnic clothing shops, (where she got her taste for unusual fashion) She of course was one of the few white, blonde, blue eyed students and often spent her early youth dancing at El Goya with the Drag Queens, while staring at an original Goya painting. She met some of her best Cuban and Black friends taking stands against the establishment, when it did not allow those of “color” to drink from water fountains or have schoolbooks. Trish gave all her books to her Cuban girlfriend, knowing she was smarter than herself but couldn’t understand the limiting of educational opportunities just because you were different.
At such a young age, being confronted with Equal Rights for Women along with rights for people of color, Trish, unconsciously at the time, became an art activist.
The concept for “Ready for Immigration” came at the death of Castro, November 25, 2016, in which childhood memories flooded her imagination of the struggles her friends had experienced. Though without their displacement and opportunity to come to America, (freedom flights and make shift boats) they might not have been life long friends.
Trish played soccer on a Women’s International Team, and was lucky enough to befriend a Jamaican female teammate, leading to her visiting Kingston, Jamaica in 1980. This was the time that the Prime Michael Manley, came into power. Trish was out exploring the underground of Kingston with Jamaican workers, when riots broke out, rocks thrown and individuals murdered. Trish hid under the driver’s wheel of the open jeep with other Jamaicans covering her body as they raced back to the home they were staying. She had stories for days; especially since Bob Marley’s home was adjourning the home she was staying.
She has also traveled the World as a former Pan American Flight Attendant soaking up culture, religion, history and experiences. She took this opportunity to travel to areas where most people would not think of visiting. In July 1990, she experienced the attempted overthrow of the government of Trinidad and Tobago, being in lockdown for a week at the Trinidad Hilton, in which the government set up an emergency office. Of course, Trish, fellow flight attendants and a daring Pilot would watch the meetings while guards have their guns drawn on everyone. They visited the locals at their restaurants and markets once the restrictions were lifted to go outside. This event imprinted her memory.
She also experienced the influx of the Haitians drowning and loosing their lives in their attempts to come to Florida, in make shift boats, to start a new life.
Upon moving to Southern California, practicing as a Psychotherapist, Art Therapist and Artist, Trish has experienced the controversial issues of Mexicans crossing the border again addressing racism and immigration. Trish has been a volunteer/member, with over 10 years of service, with North County African American Women’s Organization (raising scholarships for women to continue their education and obtain housing). As one of the few white women in this group, Trish knows first hand the meaning of privilege.
“Ready for Immigration” was birthed out of her political awareness, experiences and lifelong friendships.