Latinos Doing Their Thing…
Andrea Arroyo is a Mexican-born, award-winning visual artist and curator who has received dozens of accolades for her work, including Groundbreaking Latina in the Arts Award, 21 Leaders for the 21st Century Award, and Outstanding Latina of the Year. She was also selected by President Clinton to create the Global Citizen Award and selected by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences to create the Latin Grammys image.
Her exhibition record includes 30 individual and over 100 group exhibits, while her permanent public art can be seen in various public spaces in New York City. Andrea’s artwork has been the subject of over 100 features in the national and international media, including CNN, NBC, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Latina. Being Latino had the opportunity to speak to Andrea about her work and its unique contribution to the Latino community and to women around the world.
Dancer Turned Artist
Interestingly enough, Andrea started out as a dancer. Originally from Mexico, Andrea came to the United States at age 20 to study and perform contemporary dance. But, she always had an eye towards the visual arts. In fact, her upbringing in Mexico City was a key source of inspiration:
Being exposed to public murals in the city changed my life. Just seeing this amazing art every day gave me a totally different point of view.
Her first body of work was a series of sculptures and reliefs about interesting New York City characters. She showed it to a gallery, booked a show, and started selling her work immediately. Though she calls her quick success luck, many would call it talent. As a dancer, Andrea felt more familiar with three- dimensional forms, but soon after added painting to her repertoire, evolving from a self-taught artist to a successful professional for more than two decades.
Bringing Women’s Issues to Life
Many of Andrea’s subjects are historical women from around the world – Malinche, Cleopatra, Frida Kahlo, Rosa Parks, and Martha Graham to name a few. Her hope is that the images of these women will resonate with contemporary viewers: My idea is to have people look at these historical women and make the connection between those women and contemporary women. It doesn’t matter if she’s a queen or a warrior or a poet or a worker from a factory; all of our lives are equally valuable.
Andrea’s work also calls attention to issues of social justice and gender discrimination. Her ongoing project Flor de Tierra-Homage to the Women of Juarez, for example, consists of 400 drawings in tribute to the victims of femicide. Her project Unbound features historical women of Manhattan and will be exhibited from September through December at the Morris-Jumel Mansion museum.
Not only does Andrea support women’s issues through her art, but she also provides promotion and training to minority and women artists in New York through her mentoring and curatorial projects, including Women in the Heights, September 11 – Past, Present, Future; AriZONA-Artists Respond to the Immigration Issue; and Art without Borders. To date, she has showcased the work of over 150 artists.
We at Being Latino celebrate this inspiring artist not only for her work, but for her contribution to our community as well.
To see more of Andrea’s work, please check out her website.