There’s a lot going on in the world right now. From the coronavirus pandemic that has disproportionately impacted and killed people of color — black and Latinx people specifically — to the cruel and senseless killings of black lives including George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was brutally murdered by a white police officer. It is a very overwhelming and devastating time for POCs, particularly for the black community. Fortunately, there is a collective of artists out there who are bringing us hope and helping us feel more connected during these difficult days.
“I think art is a very special tool that we have to use with great responsibility. During these times you can either uplift with your art or you can add to what’s happening. It is such a powerful instrument and so much can be done with it,” says Dominican-American artist Fanesha Fabre.
Here’s a look at a few Latinx artists who have created healing art during this challenging pandemic!
Artist: Lizcary Amarante
IG handle: @lizkys_art
Name of art: “Quarantine Survival Guide”
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Happy Quarantine💛 Here are some things that I’ve been doing to remain sane during quarantine. Feel free to comment what y’all have been doing 🦋 —————————————————— 1. HEALTH IS WEALTH. let’s take care of our bodies and stop eating so many snacky snacks. Get active, eat colorful meals. Drink water and mind your business. 2. CREATIVITY Now is a great time to get creative. Art is a great form of therapy. Start that project you’ve been thinking about. Find a new hobby , it might even become a great side hustle. 3. TURN OF THE NEWS ONCE IN A WHILE. News mostly spreads anxiety and fear into folks and makes them dwell on things they have no control over. Telemundo can be off for an hour or 2 4. ITS OK NOT TO BE PRODUCTIVE ALL THE TIME. For all the rise and grind folks. We’re in the middle of a Pandemic. Chill, do a crossword puzzle, watch a movie. Stay home please. 5. DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY (inside) Skin care routine, binge watch all the shows. Listen to Music. Don’t worry about being productive 24/7. 5. WASH YO HANDS. if you read all that thanks for reading. happy quarantine💛
The NYC-based Dominican-American artist was in the middle of her senior year at Rutgers University in Brunswick, New Jersey when the pandemic hit the states. Graduation was even canceled. But regardless of her disappointments, Amarante has been trying to focus on the silver linings. She’s been reading, journaling, writing poetry, and making art.
“I created this piece as a way to help those you may be struggling with coming to terms with quarantine. I was having some difficulty accepting this new reality myself,” she says. “My goal is for my art to make viewers feel hopeful and have faith that things will eventually get better. I want my art to remind others not to give energy to the things they cannot control. I want my art to make others feel comforted and that they are not alone.”
Artist: Fanesha Fabre
IG handle: @faneshafabre
Name of art: “Bochinche”
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If our abuelas did it, so can we. That one time when @elisabetvelasquezpoetry and I collaborated together. She wrote a poem and We brought it to life. Social distancing. Print available in my shop. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #illustratordesign #lowereastsidenyc #bushwick #latinaartist #ipadpro #newyorknewyork #chinatown #brooklynstoop #newyorkcityartist #newyorkcityart #brooklynart #brooklynartists #hoodification #greetingcards #chinatownnyc #streetart #art #graphicdesign #afrolatina #illustrator #bushwickbrooklyn
When quarantine first happened in NYC, Fabre started seeing art as an avenue to offer relief to other people. When the shelter-in-place was first implemented, she started giving away a printable coloring book to give people some relief. She also started to offer free drawing classes on Instagram lives.
“This was a collaboration between myself and my friend Elisabet Velasquez, an amazing poet. I remember one day she was on her Instastories talking about how abuelas use to gossip back in the days with cans attached to strings and as soon as I heard that, I imagined an illustration of two abuelas doing just that. I reached out to Elisabet and I asked her if she wanted to collaborate on a print — she, of course, agreed,” says Fabre. “I hope that my art gives people a moment of relief. A slight distraction from what is happening out there. I believe it is important to be well informed but I also believe that it is important to protect your mind. To give your mind a break to process and cope. If we do not get that from the news and media, we have to create that pause ourselves.”
Artist: Andrea Acevedo
IG handle: @butterflymush
Name of art: “MADE STRONG”
Colombian-American artist Acevedo has experienced a roller coaster of emotions during this pandemic. She lives in Queens, which has served as the epicenter of the COVID19 outbreaks in NYC. “The quarantine for us started early and to say I have gone through all the stages of grief is an understatement. I have some good days and then there are some bad days,” she says. “There was a time period where I really couldn’t bring myself to paint. But I had come to terms with the fact that it’s okay to not always be creating. The world is going through a collective time of trauma as our lives drastically change so reminding myself that it’s going to be okay in the end has helped.”
The pandemic didn’t necessarily inspire Acevedo to create art. Instead, art has worked as a coping mechanism for her and a way to bring healing and awareness to others. This specific piece is a commission for a fearless client who has MS that she wanted to commemorate the day she started her transfusions.
“I learned the importance of art in difficult times when I saw the reactions people had with my coloring pages and I realized art and coloring can stimulate emotions within you that can get your mind off of a stressful situation. In turn, your coloring or creating becomes therapeutic,” she says. “I’d like to continue boosting morale to those in need. Remind them that not everything around them is negative or depressing and that soon we will be able to get back to being the bad bitches we have always been together.”
Artist: Jennyfer Parra
IG handle: @turnthepicto
Name of art: Que Solazo! The literal translation is “What Sun.” In the Dominican Republic, it’s a colloquialism used to depict a scorching sun or super sunny day.
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Day 7: #earthday. Take the flowers you have and create a concrete jungle. #fireescapism #covidstoriesnyc #yerrruptown #freelancephotographer #timeoutnewyork #nycgo #uptowncollective #trueyorkcity #manhattantimes #timemagazine #thenewyorker #amnewyork #gothamistpics #uptowncollective #nycprimeshot #abc7NY #ny1Pic #photojournalism #washheights #uptownnyc #washingtonheights #covidnyc #photojournalist #documentaryphotographer #covidnyc #magnumphotos #uptownnyc
Dominican-American artist and photographer Jennifer Parra has been creating a lot of art outside of her NYC apartment’s fire escape. She initially felt uninspired at the beginning of the quarantine and came across @artbydarios picture which he titled #fireescapism and that’s how her photo series and its name were born.
“Art is subjective. From crochet to drawing, to cooking, people are craving the need to create something,” she said. “It’s something so essential, even for the person that feels as if they don’t have a creative bone in their body. We all wake up with the need to design, produce, and generate something for that day. Art can even be re-organizing your cabinets to create a space that makes it easier for you to cook or take care of yourself and your family.”
Artist: Lucia Hierro
IG handle: @lucia_hierro_
Name of art: “Cleanliness is Close to Godliness”
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#Repost @thealdrich ・・・ If you’re on our mailing list – check your mailbox for a postcard from The Aldrich! 📬 While you can’t come to us, we wanted to bring some art to you. Lucia Hierro (@lucia_hierro_) who will have her first solo museum exhibition at The Aldrich next year, created the work Cleanliness Is Close To Godliness in response to the current state of life during the pandemic. If you would like to join our mailing list, please email [email protected] or Kris Honeycutt at [email protected] . #LuciaHierro, Cleanliness Is Close To Godliness, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.
Dominican-American artist Lucia Hierro made this piece specifically for The Aldrich Museum. They had reached out to her asking for an image for a postcard they were sending out on their mailing list. “It was a personal touch to keep people engaged in the museum’s programming. I’ll be having my first museum solo show at The Aldrich so this was also a clear way for them to officially announce it,” she said. “I was thinking about cleanliness and how the focus on COVID prevention has been of washing hands and cleaning. I was thinking about domestic workers. I was also thinking about what I’ve observed from the Latina women in my life as an almost borderline religious obsession with a clean home.”
Hierro also has a very moving philosophy towards art during times of crisis.
“I have a hard time in finding the importance of art during any difficult time. I must sound like a traitor to my fellow artists for saying that. I’m well aware of the limitations of what art can do in times like these. I’m no doctor. Art when done right is not an escape… escapism can be quickly manipulated to dumb us down to hard truths and calls to action. For me when art is done rights it’s a mirror, a deep inquiry into the truths that make up the human condition.”
Artist: Lucila Perini
IG handle: @lucilaperinistudio
Name of art: “Days With Me”
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Ilustración que presenté para el concurso @yoilustroencasa y que pueden votar dándole un like en su perfil si les gusta 🌹🍷 Después de muchos días sin poder agarrar un lápiz, salió esta obra nueva que me gusta mucho y que me hizo muy feliz pintarla. Espero que les saque una sonrisa como a mi cada vez que la miro 🙂 todas las escenas fueron reales (bueno quizás "The Quarantines" & la batería no existieron 🙄🥁). . . . . . . . #stayathome #yomequedoencasa #yomecuido #creatividad #staysafe #arteartearte #nosalgasdecasa #illustration #illustrator #homeillustration #ipadproart #procreate #procreateillustration #athome #womenillustrators #digitalillustration #ilustraciondigital #startsomewhere #homesweethome #editorialillustration #coverillustration #ilustradoraslatinas #minibio #bio #mujeresartistas #diseñadorasargentinas #diseñoargentino #ilustradoras #covidartmuseum
Perini who is based in Bueno Aires, Argentina, initially experienced a creative block her first few weeks of being in quarantine. Drawing initially served as a form of therapy to help her cope with everything that was happening. Before she knew it, drawing was also serving as a means of self-care and connection with self.
“In full confinement, I decided to portray the feeling of being locked up but I wanted to get away from the clichés and propose a fun and happy look that communicates the playful side of quarantine,” she said. “I started by illustrating different situations of my day (dancing with my cat, exercising at home) and realized that if all those actions were carried out by the same character, the idea of the endless circle that the days are being (where the schedules and dates fade) appeared. I ended up adding a girl playing the drums, an instrument that I don’t have or know how to play, but I always tried to add a little bit of fantasy.”
Creating art has aided Perini in being able to disconnect from the excess information she was consuming daily. It has also allowed her to rethink her perspective of the world and find new ways to stay and be connected with others.
“I truly believe that art is an important practice at all times, but of course, during tougher moments it can be seen as a tool of resistance and relaxation,” she said. “In general, it helps us to sublimate certain emotions that we are going through and that perhaps we cannot express in any other way. I also think that connecting with crafts and materials, leaving screens aside is something very comforting.”
Artist: Aimée Mazara
IG Handle: aimeemazara
Name of art: “Anny y Aimée, agosto 1993”
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Mami siempre tan chill, y yo siempre tan freaking out.. Antes de que se acabe el día, esto lo he querido hacer desde hace meses con fotos viejas. Tipo Humans of New York que me mandan fotos viejas y sus memorias para contar, pero así como Humans of the Past. Cuando termine el mes, lo hago para cualquier fotos vieja. Pero ahora hablando con mami, se me ocurrió que este mes, solo memorias de madres, que puede ser un cuento, un tributo, un saludo… lo que sea que quieran decir. En verdad es como una forma de agradecerle a la mía, porque sin las largas llamadas a distancia, no sé qué haría todos estos días. 🌺 Me las pueden enviar al correo, prometo hacer las que más pueda durante el mes. * puede ser anónimo si deseas. #dominicanmothersday #mesdelasmadres
The Dominican artist behind the “What’s Happening in Dominican Republic” illustration that went viral in February has been working on quite a few art projects during this pandemic but one of the ones that have stood out the most has been a series she did around Mother’s Day. Because the quarantine has resulted in a lot of folks not being able to get together with their families and their mothers for the holiday (both in the U.S. and DR) she decided to do illustrations dedicated to mothers.
“The drawing was an old birthday gift for mom I hadn’t shared. On the phone with her the night of May 1st, I realized it was ‘Mes de las Madres.’ In the Dominican Republic, May is heavily dedicated to mothers celebrated on the last Sunday of the month,” she said. “Last year, I made a Mother’s Day series just for mom, drawing old photographs of her and us. I decided to recreate the same series, but for others, wherever they were ‘Humans of New York’ style, so they could also share memories of their mothers. I’ve always had a deep interest in old family photos and feelings of nostalgia and I still wanted to document. I took this drawing I already had of my mother and me, and at midnight I hurriedly posted the idea and named the series ‘Fotos y Recuerdos.’ It all came together in under half an hour.”
Mazara started using art as a coping mechanism after experiencing a serious burn accident. She was isolated in her apartment and found that creating art was therapeutic and healing. Mazara wants folks to know “that by sharing other’s realities or memories, that people can see value in theirs too.”
Artist: Ludmila Leiva
IG Handle: @ludileiva
Name of art: “The Offering”
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I’m taking part in @40days40heroes a UK-based art initiative celebrating essential workers. Every day for 40 days they’re sharing illustrations of different essential workers that folks can bid on (winner receives a signed print) with proceeds going to NHS Charities. • • I chose to illustrate supermarket workers, because where would we be without them? Their labor is typically uncelebrated, but they are the reason why so many of us are able to feed and nourish ourselves and our families. Every day, they risk their lives to help keep stores—and our own pantries—stocked. Food is a privilege and immense comfort during this time and I am deeply grateful to all those whose work makes it possible for me to put food on my table.
Leiva who is half Guatemalan and half Slovak, is currently based back and forth between Berlin and the Pacific Northwest.
“When the pandemic hit I was in Berlin and made what felt like a very urgent decision to come back to the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. so that I wasn’t stuck across the world from my family,” she said. “And even though I’m glad to be here, it was a very stressful process. I’ve been sheltering in place for 11 weeks and it is starting to feel like an eternity, but of course, I understand it’s for the safety and wellbeing of everyone, especially the most vulnerable groups, so I’m making the best of it.”
“The Offering” is part of 40 Days of 40 Heroes, a UK-initiative that’s celebrating different essential workers over the course of 40 days. She chose supermarket workers because they are a group of essential workers that she’s really grown to respect and appreciate.
“Thanks to them, I have food in my fridge and pantry and am able to stay nourished,” she said. “I know a lot of them are scared to go to work and potentially put themselves at risk but need to do so to make ends meet. Also, many of them are not receiving the care they need from their employers. This piece was a celebration of the abundance so many of us are able to have thanks to their hard work and sacrifice.”