LATINA ART CHOSEN BY NRCDV FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
Thursday, May 17th, 2018
By: Patricia Celis, Bilingual Content Coordinator for Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network.
Every year, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) commissions or purchases the art work of a woman to be featured on all their organizational materials in commemoration of International Women’s Day. This year the honor was extended to Cuban artist Perla Gonzalez Marinel-lo. The selected painting, “Anisah: First Generation Latina Teen, Human & Civil Rights Spoken Word Artist, Muslim”, is a portrait of the artist’s granddaughter.
NRCDV also interviewed this young Latina spoken word artist on a podcast that was launched on March 8th. Click here to access the podcast. In the Podcast, Anisah talks about her challenges living at the intersections of what it’s like being a young Latina Muslim woman. She also shares her thoughts on where she thinks the women’s movement should be heading, and an empowering spoken word on dismantling misconstrued gender roles.
From the National Latin@ Network we reached out to the artist, Perla González Marinel-lo, and asked if she could talk to us about her life, art and work.
How did you feel when you found out your piece was selected by NRCDV for International Women’s Day?
I felt very honored and committed because I feel part of what the organization promotes.
What inspired you to paint a portrait of your granddaughter?
I had a photo of her I really liked that inspired me to paint her portrait. I love to make portraits and always wanted to make at least one of each of my seven grandchildren. I liked the colors I had in mind for the veil and the fringes. It was both an esthetic and a grandmotherly inspiration.
How long have you lived in the United States?
I left from my native country, Cuba, in 1995 and went to Spain where I lived for five years. From there I migrated to the United States in the year 2000 to attend the birth of my granddaughter, Anisah, and never left.
What does painting mean for you?
It’s had different meanings at different times in my life. As a child my friends knew me to always be drawing something. During my years as a student of Architecture, I belonged to a generation that didn’t use computers for our drawings; hence I acquired many of the tools I use today. When I left Cuba to Spain I started drawing pen and ink so that I could make some money during those initial stages as an immigrant. Later on, after I went to Miami, I started exploring new themes in black and white and finally started using color. As the years went on, painting has become my liberation and a means of communicating what I feel. Now that I am retired from my career as an architect it makes me keep my enthusiasm every day with a new project or engaging with something new I want to experiment or learn.
What was your field of work back in Cuba?
I was an architect specialized in Urban Planning. Before I left Cuba, I was working at the National Planning Institute as the Project Manager for Varadero’s Master Plan. I was also a Titular Associate Professor for Havana University’s School of Architecture.
Is there any advice you would like to share based on your years of experience as a woman, mother, grandmother, professional and artist?
Never ever give up. Age does not matter in order to achieve your dreams. I actually started believing I was an artist a few years ago, even though now I think I always was. Believe in yourself as a woman, mother, grandmother, and as a successful professional, whatever your profession may be.
We asked Perla González to share with us other art pieces she has created where women are depicted in different areas of their lives. We hope you enjoy them!
If interested in seeing other pieces from the artist, please visit here.