Pyramids and green rolling hills and being the child of an immigrant

I’ve been thinking about these pyramid paintings I’ve been turning out lately. Although I grew up in Latin America, and saw my fair share of the pyramids there, these are clearly Egyptian pyramids. So why have I been placing them in landscapes that look more like the southeast USA?

Maybe it’s my subconscious trying to integrate the two sides of my heritage. I think children of immigrants, that is those born in the US of immigrant parents, have a lot of work trying to integrate both cultures, traditions and family styles. My mother was born in Cairo, and immigrated to the US as a teen nearly a hundred years ago, together with one of her sisters. She was a Catholic and a francophone, so that added to my cultural confusion. I learned a bit of French growing up, but not a word of Arabic. My father was born in Virginia of parents from the hills of east Tennessee, with roots going back to protestant Scots-Irish settlers in the mid 18th century.

I never really felt connected with either side, much to my puzzlement. Understandably I guess, I always felt much more connected to Latin American culture, and I feel a bit more Latino than anything else. I guess there’s a little of the Central American Jungle in some of these pictures also.

The pyramids popping up in these landscapes also remind me of the view from the back porch of the house where my parents retired in Charlottesville, Virginia with a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge mountains and Buck mountain in particular, front and center, vaguely pyramidical in shape.

I’ve only recently started to feel some connection to the Egyptian/Middle Eastern heritage when I said out loud something about “my Middle Eastern heritage.” For some reason, that struck me in a way it never had before.

Funny how we sometimes have to work things out symbolically instead of addressing them head on.


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