As a Mexican-American, I work hard on representing my culture in my art. I feel as if I have to fight harder in order to show who I am and who I am willing to become. I often feel a sense of being lost in a community where there isn't a lot of diversity or main-stream media where we are finally getting representation after years of being ignored. I realized that I don't want others to feel this way either, so I work with a community called Ella Rises to help others like me, so they don't feel lost. We give a sense of security and diversity; we help empower young women and give them a community where they can fit in and don't have to fight as hard. I make sure to include people of color in my lessons, I work with them in order to lift them up and help the girls realize they are powerful, regardless of background or the color of their skin. In my pieces I normally portray women, I make their skin different colors, I make them cry but I always put a sparkle of Mexican culture in my pieces. When we think of artist, we always think of the Artists of the Renaissance, such as Michelangelo, Rafael, Leonardo, Donatello, or Monet, Van Gogh etc. All of these artist who I have come to love myself, but other than Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso, or Diego Rivera, can you name any other Hispanic artists? We focus on people who are white and mostly men, I think we need more representation. How are kids with ethnic backgrounds going to realize that they too can accomplish bigger and better things such as our counterparts? In a culture that comes from the sun and the most vibrant colors you've ever seen, I think it's about time we get to shine a little brighter. I think it's about time for us to stand up and show others that regardless of background we can accomplish things. That's what I teach at Ella Rises, that's why I put some of my culture into my paintings, so I can shine, so my ancestors can shine, so we can all shine.
University / Institution: Utah Valley University
Format: In Person
SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)
Area of Research: Arts
Faculty Mentor: Alexandra Giannell