Hi friends! My name is Momo and I currently live in Los Angeles. I have spent my life in a few places including Princeton, Milan, DC, and Chile. I have ended up in LA to attend the University of Southern California where I study International Relations Global Business. Los Angeles is amazing but I would be lying if I did not admit I hold a bit of resentment for the city. Coming from the east coast, Los Angeles culture appears (at times) flashy, obnoxious, pretentious, and shallow. But if you look beyond the Hollywood lens, the city does have a lot to offer. I love the city’s diversity, food, and active lifestyle. I appreciate how I can visit the mountains, the beach, and the city all in one day. Los Angeles has so many tribes/cults/families/groupies, it’s all a matter of finding the one that works for you. That being said, I have felt stuck in recent years, and have decided to come to Amsterdam for the summer to put my life into perspective.
Speaking a bit to what I do in my free time, I am a yoga teacher, and honestly, am obsessed with the practice. There is nothing more liberating and energizing than my daily yoga practice. Despite having a desperate need to take a break from Los Angeles, I miss my yoga studio more than anything. I have tried some yoga studios out here in Amsterdam, but nothing has truly given me the same spiritual and physical experience that my studio back home lends me. So I am trying to develop a self-practice, but honestly, with community being one of the most amazing components of yoga, self-practice proves more difficult than one would expect.
But back to this amazing city, I only just moved to Amsterdam, but I adore the energy of this place. Oh and the Indonesian food (so so good highly recommend). And walking through Centraal feels like a fairy-tale. Every building bears such a romantic European essence, but the city itself just feels new, progressive, and happy. I am most fascinated by the huge expat community here, and look to meet as many people as I can this summer. Nieuw-West breaks away a bit from this romanticized European energy, which I admire all the same. It feels authentic. Nieuw-West is a neighborhood made by its diverse residents, and I think there is something to be learned from venturing outside the typical “Amsterdam.” Being in Nieuw-West, I get to experience a part of the city that often gets overlooked, and this is how one truly grows culturally competent. I am so excited and grateful for the opportunity to work at SAMA.
I have an interesting history with street art. There is this one piece in Downtown Los Angeles that always incites an eye-roll, and it is captioned “you are a goddess living in a city of angels.” So to be honest, for awhile street art annoyed me, especially when I would see such cheesy captions, as I felt the art had no deeper meaning. But since seeing some of SAMA’s pieces for the first time last summer, and then coming to work here, my perception has changed entirely. Each piece has a story. This is what I love about art, and have come to recently admire about street art. Art in general has become quite commoditized, but street art is real, honest, and most importantly, tells stories in modern time. The street artists typically only have 20 minutes to leave their mark, yet it proves remarkable to think about the environment, energy, emotions, and narratives all coming together in those rapid moments. Personally I really favor the works of Btoy. Every face she paints is just so precise and detailed, and I think she does a phenomenal job of placing women at the center of the discourse, which does not occur often in the male-dominated field of street art. Furthermore, she really uses her environment so beautifully, and can transform ugly electric boxes into pieces I could stare at for hours.
So apart from pure passion for the museum, I am here at SAMA to grow as a student, young professional, and expat. Specifically, I am here to help coordinate public affairs as the museum transitions to its digital VR archive. This excites me. SAMA is doing something new and different with respect to art, but the museum also cares about its community and looks to bring up the lives of the people in this neighborhood, which I find so honorable. I am constantly inspired by the art here (I love how Destiny blends motifs of life and death into one beautiful monument), and I am inspired by the staff. Everyone cares. And the fact that people truly care about the museum's vision and mission is what is going to help this collection impact the lives of others. I cannot wait to be a part of this journey, and invite everyone to come to the museum from a truly cathartic experience.