Every once in a while, we come across a piece of art that touches our soul and makes us feel proud to be part of the vibrant, diverse and ever-evolving latinx community. No matter the medium, art is a form of expression that provokes thought and emotion, and those who are gifted enough to become creators should be celebrated.
Here are four artists of color who remind us about the joy of being part of the latinx community.
Paola De La Calle
Paola De La Calle is a Colombian-American artist, writer and educator based in San Francisco, Calif. Inspired by the stories passed down to her by her tias, she confronts themes of gentrification, migration and neo-colonialism in her works of art, which consist of printmaking and mixed media.
De La Calle says art is a form of storytelling and believes in its power to ignite social change. Her aim is, “to link together the historical, personal, and political to tell the stories we don’t often see about migrants and the Latinx experience reflected in the media or gallery and museum walls.”
As the child of an immigrant family, she uses her experience growing up in a mixed-status, low-income home to highlight resilience within the Latinx community and advocate for justice.
Lisa Ila Rocha
Jewelry designer Lisa Ila Rocha created her company Ilaments in 1999 as a way to help her celebrate a mix of her LA Street-style and Mexican and Native American culture. The name is a combination of her middle name ila which means “one who takes on challenges,” and ments part of the word, “elements.”
Her jewelry brings together bold colors and semi-precious stones to create eye-catching pieces for any occasion. She also incorporates the ancestral Native American belief that a misplaced bead in jewelry represents humanity’s imperfections.
Built with self-love in mind, Rocha aims to empower women by creating pieces that allow them to express pride in their culture.
Manuela Guillén is a freelance artist based out of Philadelphia, Pa. Born in Miami, Fla. to Cuban and Salvadorian immigrant parents, Manuela draws on her Latin upbringing for her artwork which includes murals, digital illustrations and paintings.
She also aims to bring awareness to sociopolitical and environmental issues and says art has the power to unite communities. “I want people to look at my art with an open mind and heart,” she says, “I hope my art can be a platform to start a discussion for people who are not like me.”
While she says she makes art for herself, she admits a sense a responsibility to the Latinx community. “I want my art to light the fire in the Latinx community to feel empowered, beautiful, represented,” she says, “and to be a voice to express their cultural and spiritual journey as children of immigrants.”
Ana Alvarado’s art is raw and powerful yet still feminine and vulnerable. Her paintings and drawings capture the experience of a modern Latin American woman and celebrate the diversity and beauty of latinx women.
Inspired by her Mexican heritage, Alvarado uses vibrant stains and permanent markers to create emotion-driven pieces that address social justice issues and feature cultural folklore.
By featuring women in her artwork, she aims to celebrate differences and encourage others to love themselves despite imperfection.
Susie is a journalist, entrepreneur and traveler. Born and raised in Los Angeles, her passion for creative storytelling has fueled her professional career and she pursues stories that highlight innovative and inspiring people from diverse backgrounds and industries.
Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @susieplascencia.