In Vegas, Jimi Urquiaga Celebrates Family, Unity and Inspirational Women
In what is undoubtedly a challenging time for Vegas, "La Familia Urquiaga" celebrates the vibrant and inspirational people Jimi Urquiaga has loved his whole life.
Las Vegas is still in the process of healing. Two weeks ago, a terrorist opened fire on concert-goers in the city, leaving 58 people dead and 546 injured, and nothing has felt normal since. Vegas’ casinos are reporting drastic declines in visitors. The infamous “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” slogan is scarcely uttered. A city which was notorious for its flamboyance and vibrant party scene remains strangely quiet.
What communities require to heal after tragedy is a sense of unity, belonging, and — however banal it might sound — love. This is exactly the sentiment that is revealed in the work of Las Vegas-based stylist Jimi Urquiaga, for whom Nevada’s capital city is a constant source of inspiration. Behind the city’s glamorous and reckless image, there has always been a beating heart of families, communities, friends and kindred spirits. It’s this raw vein of connection that Urquiaga’s work exposes.
Made in collaboration with photographer Alexander Saladrigas, Urquiaga’s “La Familia Urquiaga” is a moving tribute to his family and friends. In bold colours and warm hues, the series portrays “subjects that I’ve found beautiful since the beginning of my life”, Urquiaga states. Urquiaga’s many aunts, grandmothers, cousins and friends are featured in classic Las Vegas locales – at casino slot machines, next to opulent sculptures, under Vegas’ bright blue skies.
The humorous and warm-hearted portraits are accompanied by two “love letters” Jimi Urquiaga wrote. The first is addressed to all of the women in his family; the second is a personal tribute to his Abuela Sonia, who is currently battling Alzheimer’s. The tenderness that permeates the series and the deeply personal subject matter make “La Familia Urquiaga” an unusually emotional fashion editorial. Given the current situation in Vegas — and, indeed, our wider political climate — this sense of unity is sorely needed.
”You are a force. There are few people on this earth that have the capability to move mountains, and you are one of those people” – Letter to Sonja by Jimi Urquiaga
“I know that no matter how bad the Alzheimers gets, you’re still in there. I hope that i’ve made you proud, and I want you to know that I will never stop until I reach greatness. I will apply everything you’ve taught me to my life, and i’m going to make you proud. Through photography and fashion, i’m going to continue telling your story. I hope that it becomes like a time capsule, so that the younger generations in our family and my own children will know what kind of inspiring and powerful women we came from.” – Letter to Sonja by Jimi Urquiaga
“You all are the cornerstones of this family. You are the foundation that has allowed his family to grow upward and onward. It leaves me speechless when I take a moment to think about you being the rocks of our households, and the amazing feat of carrying the weight of our family on your shoulders” – A Letter to the Women in my Family by Jimi Urquiaga
“I had an amazing childhood and it’s seriously a testament to the hard work of these women: the women who made hard work look easy. The women who showered me with abundant love and filled my heart” – A Letter to the Women in my Family by Jimi Urquiaga
“I grew up in a household built on hard work of men, but kept up by the blood, sweat and tears that the women in my life gave and continue to give today” – A Letter to the Women in my Family by Jimi Urquiaga