Ask a ¡NUEVOlution! Artist | Rosalia Torres-Weiner
Now 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, Dominican Republic and many other countries. Their works expresses their experiences, stories and inspiration, from their home countries to their new homes in the South.
Ask a ¡NUEVOlution! Artist: Rosalia Torres-Weiner
You began your career in hospitality, what motivated you to make the switch from hospitality to art?
Since I was a little kid I wanted to be an artist. I started painting murals in my children’s rooms and then my neighbors hired me to paint their homes. I gradually started painting in other neighborhoods and I launched my mural business, Home Art Designs. Eventually, I was hiring other artists to work with me.
Do you have a favorite piece of work you’ve done? Why?
My favorite piece is a mixed-media painting that I did called “From the Many One.” It represents a group of Latinas (including me) in Charlotte who are raising their families and enriching the Charlotte community
What influenced you to change your art in a way that promotes activism?
I have always been involved with the Latino community in Charlotte, and I started to hear more and more stories about members of the community who were being deported or living with the loss of a family member who had been deported. As I learned more about the immigration system I wanted to help change things. As an artist, mother, and a community leader, I felt like I needed to give voice to the children and families that had lost a parent to deportation. My paintings amplify feelings that I have always felt. It has allowed me to express those feelings "sin Miedo" (without fear).
How do you present messages about deportation and Latino culture to other people who may not be as familiar with it, such as visitors of ¡NUEVOlution!?
I present messages with stories, colors, objects and words. I try to present different layers of the story so the image may initially appear happy or sad, but there are actually different emotions portrayed under the surface. I think that I try to draw the observer in with something that they may not have seen before, and my hope is that they will spend some time discovering and contemplating the message.
What do you want people to walk away with after viewing your paintings?
I want people to understand that Latinos are a part of Charlotte, that we belong here. I also want people to see beyond the common stereotypes of Latinos, to understand that we make significant contributions to the economy and that we have a desire to share our traditions, culture and struggles with the community. I have been living in the USA for more than 24 years and people still ask me if I speak English because I don’t look “American.” I am an American citizen and I hope that one day people see me as American.
About Rosalia Torres-Weiner
Rosalia Torres-Weiner is a Mexican artist, muralist and community leader living and working in Charlotte, North Carolina. She launched Home Art Designs in 2001, and her murals have appeared in some of the most exclusive homes and businesses in Charlotte. In 2010, she founded Project Art Aid as a response to the devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. Today, the project remains a great success through donations and funding.
Be sure to check back each week for new stories and insights on ¡NUEVOlution! Latinos and the New South.