Washington Heights Artist Celebrates Women Through Art
A Manhattan artist celebrates powerful goddesses and everyday women lost to history in color and black and white. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.
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Manhattan artist Andrea Arroyo is inspired by powerful women and goddesses, and has painted them for more than a decade. In an Upper East Side exhibition of her work in Marmara Gallery, called “Evidence of Movement,” Arroyo happily shared the global and mythological subjects of her artwork.
“This is Aphodite, the Greek goddess of love - this is Nut, the night goddess of the Egyptian culture - this is Chasca, and she is the goddess of the [dawn] in the Inca culture in peru,” said Arroyo.
The exhibition showcases Arroyo's intensely colorful series on women in world history and mythology.
“The inspiration is women in general. I want to celebrate everything that is feminine and the strength of women, so I choose the most better-known characters such as Cleopatra or the goddesses to celebrate women,” said Arroyo.
“That's Eve of course - she has the forbidden fruit,” said Arroyo as she pointed to a picture of a yellow female figure bending over backwards to hold a red apple.
The self-taught artist came to the city as a dancer more than 20 years ago. She was the official artist of the Seventh Annual Latin Grammy Awards and her work has appeared on the cover of the New Yorker Magazine.
In stark contrast, Arroyo also remembers women who have been lost to history. In a black and white series called “Flor de Tierra,” or "flower of the earth," the Mexican-born artist pays tribute to the 400 women murdered in a Mexican border town across form El Paso Texas since 1993. They are not portraits, but inspired tributes to the mostly young factory workers.
“The shock of the sheer number of that many women that were killed - I wanted to make a celebration an homage to the women. So, and I didn't want to do a gruesome depiction, so I wanted to celebrate their life and make a parallel between powerful women and the victims, because to me all life is equally precious,” said Arroyo.
At her home studio in Washington Heights, Arroyo continues to work on the series. After several years, she has made about half of the intended series of 400 black and white images. She intends to complete the series by the end of the year.
Arroyo’s exhibition has been extended through March 23. For more information on the exhibit at Marmara Gallery at East 94th Street and 2nd Avenue, call (212) 427-3100. Visit Arroyo’s website at www.andreaarroyo.com
- Stephanie Simon