We're installing the show tonight at the Hennepin Gallery and here is a snapshot of one of my paintings that will be in the exhibit. I just finished it last night!
A Portrait of Celia Cruz
Acrylic on Canvas
My Artist Statement
Latin and Jazz music has always influenced my work. Like many artists before me, music inspires my color palette, mark making, and formal decisions within my compositions. It helps me determine a rhythm and energy in my work. My paintbrush becomes a catalyst for the sound being stimulated through me on to my canvas. Latin music and Jazz are embedded in my spirit. It’s just as much a part of my process as are my imaginations and observations. It allows me to articulate what my paint wants to say. What my soul needs to convey.
I choose two musical artists, Louis Armstrong and Celia Cruz, as subject for my work presented in “Remembering Our Leaders”. I felt it was appropriate to paint both of them for Black History Month because I feel they have paved the way for other artists preceding them. Both iconic, they have each created an original and distinctive sound within their genres.
Exiled and never able to return to her native country, Cuba, the Queen of Salsa will always remain in my heart and those of the people who also felt her music. Celia Cruz was a female pioneer in Latin music with a strong voice and a larger then life style. Her costumes and hair were as colorful as a Stuart Davis painting. Notorious for her tag line “Azucar” (meaning “sugar” in Spanish), she once joked to her audience that she was going to stop saying it so much to avoid giving her fans diabetes. As Marvette Perez, curator of Latino history and culture for the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. described, “It served Cruz as a ‘battle cry’ and an allusion to African slaves who worked Cuba's sugar plantations”. She was passionate and embodied the essence of her country. Celia was, and still is, the voice of Cuba.