Written by Malcolm Durning
Meet Tyaela Nieves, the interdisciplinary artist living in Brooklyn.
Originally from Albany, Nieves moved to the city to attend New York University Tisch School for the Arts where she recently (literally yesterday) got her BFA in Drama.
While her primary focus was acting, Nieves explored numerous artistic facets including music, writing, and film. Nieves’ most recent artistic endeavor was one extremely close to her heart. Collaborating with her boyfriend, Hunter Lewis, and three close friends, Jeanne Ringwald, Sierra Moon Jackson, and Kayla Juntilla, Nieves crafted a short film of such a high caliber, it is difficult to believe that this work is her debut film.
La Flor De Mi Madre, a powerful, dream-like exploration of “youthful grief,” serves as a letter to Nieves’ late mother, Damaris, who passed May of 2017. Nieves pairs footage of Brooklyn and Puerto Rico with reflective memories of her own and her collaborators, and a poem written by her mother when she was just in seventh grade. While the five-minute film explores tragedy, the tone of the piece is that of love and light.
La Flor De Mi Madre articulates the contradictions that live within death, what Nieves describes as “holding two emotions in one hand.” Nieves’ images of blooming flowers, decorative veils, and stoic faces, paired with the delicate and romantic soundscape designed by Hunter Lewis, leaves the viewer feeling the same emotional contradiction. One doesn’t know whether to smile or cry, demonstrating that it is possible, and sometimes necessary, to do both. Nieves’ debut film reminds the viewer that where there is mourning, there is celebration; where there is loneliness, there is community; where there is loss, there is growth.
View La Flor De Mi Madre below, exclusively released on The Thread Mag.