mending guide

Lara de los Reyes

September 14 - October 14, 2023


mending guide


For years, Lara de los Reyes took a hiatus, which is basically art-speak for going off the grid. She put her art on hold because life – well, you know the drill. Motherhood swooped in, bills demanded attention, and the art scene turned into this glitzy commercial circus that was the opposite of Lara’s countercultural vibes.


But then, out of nowhere, droppings came down from the universe in the form of a mythical creature—the Lazarus bird. This elusive avian species, often referred to as the Holy Grail of birdwatching, holds a unique place in the hearts of those who seek it.


The term “Lazarus” derives from the biblical narrative of Lazarus of Bethany, a man who was miraculously raised from the dead by Christ. In medical terms, the term “Lazarus” is used to describe a phenomenon known as “Lazarus syndrome” or “Lazarus phenomenon.” This rare and unusual occurrence refers to the spontaneous return of circulation and sometimes even consciousness after all attempts have failed, when all hope has seemingly evaporated.


In cases of cardiac arrest or similar life-threatening situations where resuscitation efforts have been unsuccessful and the patient has been declared dead, there have been reported instances of the person showing signs of life, such as a return of cardiac activity or breathing, minutes to hours after attempts at CPR.


Much like the biblical/medical miracle worker, conservationists work tirelessly to breathe life into species on the brink of extinction, to rescue them from the edge of oblivion. Described only in the annals of folklore and whispered among birdwatching circles, the Lazarus bird is believed to be a symbol of hope. Its discovery would not only bring forth excitement among birdwatchers but also underscore the importance of conservation efforts to save dwindling populations of various avian species. It serves as a reminder of the power of human dedication and collective efforts to revive what seems lost.


The story of the Lazarus came flapping into Lara’s life like a cosmic wake-up call and captured her imagination. Suddenly, she was back in the field, ready to hunt, determined to capture the essence of a bird in her hand. Her spirits, which had been a graveyard of inspiration, transformed, energized with the keen enthusiasm of a birdwatcher.


In Lara de los Reyes’ exhibit called, “Mending Guide,” she stitched a sparrow onto her own palm using a needle and thread. And captured this bizarre art experiment on video. Each stitch was basically an act of bringing her own creative soul back from the dead.


She chose a common bird, the sparrow, which may not be as dazzling as the rare Lazarus bird. But in the Bible, sparrows represent God’s love and care for creation, as well as the importance of humility and trust in God’s provision.


Lara knows she can’t trap a bird’s song in a cage, just like she can’t bring back lost time. The humble sparrow embodies the essence of inspiration – free, untamed, and impossible to hold onto. She might have been down, but she ain’t out. She’s found her Lazarus bird, and she’s letting it soar, even if it means setting it free.


Watching birds is like a reminder that life’s blink-and-you-miss-it moments are It. Life may throw you curveballs, disillusionment may hit, but when inspiration comes flying in, you catch it with your palms wide open. Lara’s “Mending Guide” is a wild, elusive, and unapologetic comeback that proves you can rise each morning from the ashes and flip it.


Masi Oliveria