WHO ARE YOU…REALLY?
As a Latina surrealist artist, representation matters to me. I believe the visual arts lack Latino representation. We all know Frida Kahlo, but how many other Latino visual artists can you name? I aspire to create a lasting legacy that empowers Latinos to go after their dreams despite their current realities.
Latinos cherish and uplift the power of community. A cultural value that unites us, makes us feel safe, and makes us feel that we are a part of something much greater than ourselves. A sense of belonging and protection against the hardships of life. The ability to express my experiences as a Latina during this time in history is invaluable.
I feel so much pride to represent my resilient community. My dream is to build a community of my own. A place where art lovers from all walks of life feel accepted as they are…boundless. A place where being YOU is celebrated. Embrace all that is you. Allow yourself to be seen.
Born into a strong, Puerto Rican family that has always encouraged self-expression, I’ve known to follow my passions from a very young age. My life growing up in Virginia was always filled with music, delicious food, friends, and family. To this day, my papi plays the guitar, bongos, and congas. You can hear his music softly spilling out of our home in the evenings. The sound of brush strokes against a canvas reminds me of my maternal family as I come from a long line of
“NOT LATINO ENOUGH”
I want to show people how their heritage has the capacity to become their own playground of inspiration and creation. Being Latino transcends boundaries of physical appearance, language, and geographical location. Although I only visited Puerto Rico once, when I was two years old, my parents have instilled in me the Latino values of hard work and dreaming big.
Most of my life I have grown up in predominantly white areas. I rarely ever saw a Latino or heard Spanish being spoken outside of the house. I vividly remember the one time I heard a group of exchange students speaking Spanish in the bathroom, and I ran out of there with a quickness. I was in a genuine state of shock and confusion.The only exposure I had to my culture was through my family and loud house parties.
I was fearful they would notice I looked like them and assume I spoke fluent Spanish. It’s one of my biggest insecurities because culturally you can be looked down upon as “not Latina enough.” I felt like both worlds were colliding at that moment, and I didn’t fit into either one. Looking back, I spent a lot of my time trying to assimilate to feel seen instead of having pride in my culture. I am Latina enough just as I am.
Recently, I’ve found my own unique voice in my art. It bridges the gap between my heritage, who I am in the present moment, and who I have yet to become. Surrealism allows me to capture the juxtaposition of my everyday experiences.
“ONE OF THESE THING IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER”
The beauty of a Latina is immeasurable. They say “Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder,” and as the beholder, I choose to illuminate real bodies in my artwork. I want to show the beauty of black and brown skin, curvy hips and waists, dark nipples, and long wavy hair. A snapshot in time that we exist and we are worthy of being featured in art galleries for generations to come.
Most art galleries I have entered, I have been surrounded by hundreds of renaissance paintings of people who look nothing like me. I recently visited The MET, well-known for its prestige in the art community. I remember seeing an Indian woman in a painting and I ran right over to it because I was shocked to see a woman of color. It is unfortunate that these occurrences are few and far in between. Representation matters.
In my paintings, I aim to flip the norm on its head by celebrating diversity through the distorted lens of Surrealism. Making space where we belong. A spiritual journey of acceptance and becoming. Unveiling the beauty of the soul while redefining society’s perception of beauty…one painting at a time.
My painting, “Together, Forever,” explores the spiritual journey of becoming and allowing myself to be seen. The celebration of my body in all of its beauty and transformation. There is no denying my heritage when I look in the mirror. Although I don’t resemble the pale faces and light colored eye people on display in the art museums…we deserve to be admired too.
FEEL YOUR POWER!
My paintings are a snapshot into my life, my mind, and my soul. I want to document the experience of a Latina woman in all of her stages like a polaroid picture you will cherish for years to come. The moments where she feels helpless, empowered, alone, courageous, lost, and connected. Latina’s cannot be simplified to the media portrayal of “sexy” and “sassy;” we possess so much more depth and heart. Through the many mediums I like to express myself, I hope to illustrate the masterful complexity that is being a Latina.
I intend to use the power of my artistic voice to spotlight hope and renewal through adversity. My art is my honest truth…unfiltered. Finding my strength in vulnerability has unlocked a new level of innovation and change in my work. It definitely is no small feat, but I am proud of myself for continuing to push through the obstacles and practice courage. The Latin blood that courses through my veins instills an unshakable fierceness and strength that cannot be tamed.
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