The Tulsa City-County Library is celebrating Hispanic Heritage month during September and October this year. As their fourth event this year, they hosted a Tea Workshop with Edgar Fabian Frias on Sept. 26. It was streamed through Facebook Live. Amairani Perez Chamu, the coordinator of the Hispanic Resource Center at the Tulsa Library, guided the evening.
Edgar Fabian Frias is a non-binary, queer, indigenous artist, curator, educator and psychotherapist. They came to Tulsa on a Tulsa Artist Fellowship in visual arts. Although, their art is far beyond the limitations of just visual art; their art is multidisciplinary and complex.
The workshop began with a short guided meditation. It was a serene moment, and I appreciated the little pause in my day. After the conclusion of the meditation, Amairani and Edgar talked about how taking time to be mindful and still impacted their mood, stress level and body awareness.
Amairani and Edgar prepared two different teas during the workshop. Amairani prepared “Te de gordolobo,” which her spouse lovingly refers to as magic tea. She shared a family anecdote about how they always drink this tea when they are feeling ill. She shared that it definitely has medicinal qualities and is a tradition that has been passed up from her grandmothers.
Edgar prepared “Té de manzanilla” (also known as Chamomile tea). They spoke about the locally-sourced ingredients and how it is connected to their indigenous roots. The two tea preparations were vastly different, as Amairani prepared on the stove and Edgar prepared theirs at their desk with an electric kettle and mason jar. Amairani mentioned she tops off her tea with honey and lime. Edgar simply strains the manzanilla out and drinks it as is.
While they steeped their teas, Edgar gave a small presentation about their work. They spoke about a few art shows they did in early 2020, right before COVID-19 shut down many indoor art spaces. Their most recent was a show titled “Nierika: Santuario Somático” located in Portland, Oregon. They presented many visual pieces, including textiles and digital artwork. They also enjoy working with plants, so as a part of the opening of this exhibit, they created a Flower Essence aura spray which remained in the space for viewers to use. Another show this year was their “Holographic Space & Time Workshop” located at our beloved Philbrook Museum here in Tulsa. It was a “build-your-own” procession event where participants built their own representation of their higher selves. They began with a meditation to set intention of the night and journeyed around the Philbrook chanting words of love and self-acceptance. It was a night of play and connection. Edgar is part of the divine community here in Tulsa, and they strive to create meaningful and accepting spaces and experiences.
At the end of the presentation, they recommended a book titled “Decolonize your Diet” by Catrióna Rueda Esquibel and Luz Calvo. It is about connecting to indigenous food practices. This is definitely a book I’ll be looking for soon.
I really enjoyed this relaxed evening. Another Hispanic Heritage month event I am looking forward to is the last of the series: Latinx Craft Series. The Latinx Craft Series will be on Oct. 27 to 29 from 6 to7 p.m. This is a live streamed series of crafts. Participants will learn how to make masks, sugar skulls and altars for Dia de Los Muertos.