Ask a ¡NUEVOlution! Artist | Lila Weaver
We are pleased to introduce the artists who have contributed works of art to ¡NUEVOlution! These talented artists represent the NUEVO South, as well as Cuba, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and many other countries. Their work expresses their experiences, stories and inspirations, from their home countries to their new homes in the South.
Meet ¡NUEVOlution! Artist Lila Weaver
Why did your family move from Argentina to Alabama?
My parents had educational and career goals that led them to leave Argentina and come to the U.S. in 1961. I was five years old, just old enough to observe racial injustice through my "outsider" eyes.
What types of racial violence did you witness in Alabama’s Black Belt region? How did it affect you?
In the mid-60s, the Black Belt region of Alabama was ground zero for the drive to register black voters. My small hometown of Marion was just 27 miles from Selma, and a serious incidence of mob violence against black protestors took place there one night in 1965. It was the night a young protestor named Jimmie Lee Jackson was shot by a state trooper and later died. His death is what led to the Selma-to-Montgomery march. I was only a child when these things occurred and yet it left an impression on me, but it took decades for me to understand exactly what occurred in Marion that night and how it had changed history.
You are most known for your book Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White. What was your overall goal when telling this story? What kind of message were you trying to generate?
In my illustrated memoir, I wanted to present the intersection of my personal narrative as an immigrant kid with the racial history of that part of Alabama. The art in the book plays on the theme of photography, in part because my father took photos, but also due to the importance of photography in the documentation of the Civil Rights Movement. Many of the drawings in Darkroom pay homage to the camera and its parallels to the human eye.
What other works have you done besides the graphic novel?
I'm working on a children's novel that hearkens back to the latter stages of the Civil Rights Movement. Public schools in my part of the state were desegregated in 1969, after many years of deep resistance. I've created a story for young readers that takes place in that era, but with kid characters at the heart of the action.
How do you celebrate aspects of your Argentinian heritage today?
Argentina is far away geographically, but still very much on my mind. I celebrate the culture through food, music, and movies, but mostly by keeping in touch with my cousins down there.
What do you want others to experience from your work in NUEVOlution?
I'd like museum goers to realize that Latinos in the South may be growing in numbers now, but not so long ago, we were a minuscule minority, with all that this implied. For me, this meant having no Latino community to incorporate myself into during my formative years.
About Lila Weaver
Lila Quintero Weaver is the author-illustrator of the debut graphic novel Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White, a finalist for the Small Press Expo 2012 Ignatz Award for Promising New Talent and winner of a Notable Books for a Global Society designation. She is a self-taught visual artist with a degree from the University of Alabama.
Be sure to check back each week for new stories and insights on ¡NUEVOlution! Latinos and the New South. You can also watch videos showcasing the stories of Latinos and the New South on your YouTube channel.
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¡NUEVOlution! Latinos and the New South is on display now and includes complementary programming throughout its 13-month duration. You can see a list of all our programs on the Museum calendar.