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Memories and Histories
Yolanda Vera Ferrera
SpainGALLERYCONVERSATION
I belong to a generation of Canary Islands women who were born when tourism was the primary source of income on the archipelago.

As opposed to previous generations, the histories of our fathers and mothers are not linked to forced economic migrations to the Americas. During the epoch of our great-grandparents, the Canary Islands population was divided among those that owned land and those that worked the land. In the consecutive crises that punished the islands, our great-grandparents had few options; most packed their bags and left for Cuba. The story repeated itself with our grandparents, this time the final destination was Venezuela.

My generation lacks the memory of daily hunger that many of our grandmothers and great grandmothers endured, staying behind and waiting, working from sunrise to sunset. Many of our mothers witnessed their mothers work themselves to the bone to survive from day to day; they remember a childhood fraught with a lack of resources and mobility. They are determined that my generation will have the opportunity to study and to establish our economic independence.

The women of my generation question the feminine models that previously reigned on the islands. They have begun to emigrate and travel on their own to study, to familiarize themselves with other territories and develop economic ventures. The women of my generation have also decided to stay and propose changes to their territory. They have decided to make history and be protagonists in it. They have decided to explore risky spaces, disputed zones.

The generation of women I belong to is not homogenous. Nor was the preceding generation before me nor surely will the generation after me be homogenous. It would be irresponsible to try to define my generation from my own personal experience. But undoubtedly, we coexist in a similar economic and cultural context.

We have learned from our mothers and grandmothers to question gender inequalities. Nevertheless, it is still hard for the Canary Islands women of my generation to imagine themselves in any position of political leadership. We find it hard to conceptualize who we are by creating and participating in feminist collectives where we debate our similarities and differences. I would go so far as to say that we embark on most of our “voyages” disconnected from one another.
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