Inspired by the Waterlines cohort from the 2016 Indie Grits festival and the way a space was created for artists from different backgrounds to come together to talk about issues affecting our community, I decided to follow a similar model for Indie Grits Visiones. I also focused on finding individuals that challenge the concept of what it means to be an artist. In today’s climate, artists are the community organizers, the educators, the social justice advocates, the journalists; an artist is the one using their creativity to translate the resistance of the marginalized and lighten up the world with truth.
– Amada Torruella, Visiones Curator
Photos by Daniel Hare
This year, the Indie Grits cohort invites, yet again, Columbia and the Southeast to be a part of the conversation through their art.
I was born in the United States, but my family is from Ecuador. I currently work as the Marketing Assistant for the Nickelodeon Theatre and as a hostess at Motor Supply Company Bistro. In terms of visual art, I practice primarily with oil paintings and video collages. For Visiones, I have tried to make my art a healing process that encourages the audience to come to terms with any experiences, struggles or unknowns in their lives. For me, this project is a means to explore and accept the space I’ve occupied existing between an Ecuadorian inheritance and an American upbringing as well as the inherent isolation of that position. While my art normally deals with contrasts and extremes, I want my installation and performance-based art for Visiones to reflect the in-betweens of living in two cultures.
My roots are in Colombia, but I grew up in Queens, NY, and later moved to South Carolina. Moving from the North made the racial and cultural divide in the South all the more apparent to me. I am a filmmaker, and I want my work for Visiones to invite all people, whether they are Latinx or not, to look at themselves and their ancestry, and plot the past to map out the future. My work will be an interactive experience for the audience, mostly with film but also with graphic design pieces. I like that Visiones is seeking a more nuanced view of what in means to be Latinx in the South. It’s not a monolithic experience, and people who are in that community know that, but it is often hard to communicate that to others. My work in this year’s festival will urge audiences to consider the role that Latinx families played in the history of the South and in the forming of a larger cultural shift in the area. As a child of immigrants, my history did not start when my parents came to America — my roots can be traced much farther than that.
I am a visual artist originally from Bogota, Colombia, and I moved to the United States in 2006. I live in Greenville but I also spend time in Columbia, SC. I make primarily figurative ceramic work and with it I like to find ways to distort the human body to create unusual stories. However, my piece for Visiones is taking me out of my confort zone as I am approaching it with new materials for me. Due to my Colombian roots, I believe in magical realism and the need to create magical situations either to soften our difficulties or push our skills further. So, Visiones offers me the opportunity to express my idea of nation, that one in which we all form a human tapestry without judging ourselves by appearance, language or place of birth. As a Hispanic woman in Greenville, SC, I found that the Latinx community needs to learn more about mutual aid in order to be a stronger community, which is also another comment behind my sculptural piece.
I was born in Tamaulipas, Mexico, and I am now a filmmaker, activist and senior at Dreher High School. My activism work generally focuses on the LGBT community and the Latinx community, as I identify with both. I collide this activism with my artwork by sharing the stories of other people. My short film on transgender issues was previously screened at Indie Grits Waterlines. I want my art for Visiones to be a way to get to know myself better and to share with the audience my life as a Latino queer man in the South. I want to extend my support to the audience as my art takes on a life of its own for the viewers.
I am a Chilean graphic designer, artist and lawyer. In Chile, I started my own company that worked on mixed media projects for advertisements and TV. I later moved to America to work as a lawyer, and I have since taken up the practice of painting. I got into art because I believe in bringing art to the street and making it accessible to everyone. For Visiones, I am branching out a bit from my usual work on canvas to an interactive mixed media project that includes light, projections, acrylics and a bicycle with a Roman cart attached in the back. When I lived in Chile, I witnessed political agitation within the country, which has since inspired my art for Visiones. For my project, I want to collage my art to represent the relationships between countries, cultures and race. Hopefully, with this, I can educate and engage my audience.
Elizabeth Rosa Houck
My Mexican roots and ancestry influence my theatre, film and poetry. I am from Columbia, but I currently live in Asheville, NC. My theatre work in Columbia primarily brought attention to marginalized groups, such as queer people and people of color. In Asheville, my work transitioned into the educational sector. There I focus on language justice, activism and poetry. My project for Visiones is a hybrid of music and spoken word, with the working title From under the Magnolia. This title refers to a magnolia tree in my neighbor’s yard near where I grew up, which served as a comforting place for my friends and me. I am meditating on my roots, and how this huge magnolia tree is a place for protection and also growth. Although the documentation of my ancestors is limited, only going back to my great grandmother on my Mexican side, I want my work to showcase their strength and how I am the product of their hopes and dreams.
I am primarily a photojournalist serving the SC National Guard, the federal government and the United States Air Force. I started as a graphic designer for the military, and I later transitioned into photography, where I tell the stories of the National Guard through powerful images. My art was also featured last year in Indie Grits Waterlines, involving the way the community of Columbia struggled and coped with the flood in 2015. My personal work, however, focuses more on my own identity and life experiences. One of my most recent works, Land of My Father, is based on my experiences with my father’s home in Ecuador, and how I came to know this country that I was born in, but have felt little attachment to since. My project for Visiones is constantly evolving, but it involves cooking and capturing this food in photographs. I hope that my work with Indie Grits will highlight that the fabric of America is beautiful in its diversity.
I am originally from Veracruz, Mexico, and I work as a graphic designer, but I see myself as more of an illustrator in my personal art. I grew up in Myrtle Beach, SC, but I currently live in Columbia and work at Bluetile Skate Shop as their in house designer. I am heavily involved in the skateboarding community, and I like to encourage my friends and peers to focus on goals and aspirations. My work often involves film photography, journaling and collaging personal experiences in sketchbooks of mine. Visiones is a celebration of all cultures, and with it I want to tell my story about what it’s like to be an immigrant in America. Hopefully the audience can connect to the themes deeply by seeing it through my lens.
I have always seen teaching as my calling and an art form on its own. I am an educator and a collaborator for Girls Rock Columbia, and I hope to intersect art with education more, so that I can create a community of learners and teachers that focus on self-expression as a means to gain knowledge and create change. I am originally from Puerto Rico, and I was a late bloomer in developing my art. It wasn’t until later in life that I started discovering my artistic and creative potential. My art takes the form of acrylics on canvas, mixed media, music and dance. My dance practice is very shamanic in nature and focuses on a lot of unknowns. For Visiones, I want to use my dancing and movement to empower the audience to act.
I was born and raised in Mexico, and since moving to Columbia, I have focused on community activism and my poetry. I am the Executive Director of Palmetto Luna Arts, which is an organization promoting Latinx art and culture in South Carolina. When I moved to the U.S., I discovered that Latinx and Hispanic communities needed to be given more opportunities and a stronger voice. It seemed that we were often stifled. My project for Visiones is inspired by my two daughters and my goal as a feminist to empower Latina girls. I am creating posters of Latina girls captured in their past, present and future. I hope to show these young girls that that have the power and ability to achieve their dreams.
I am from Brazil, and I have been in Columbia for two years now. I work for South Carolina ETV and I focus on video production, filmmaking, short films, educational interviews and the creative aspects of journalism. I try to use my work in creative journalism and filmmaking to share other people’s voices. With Visiones, I want to show the world that the Latinx community is not limited to stereotypes. Since I have been in Columbia, I met and joined a capoeira group that has greatly influenced my art. Capoeira is a mixture of Brazilian martial arts and dance that started with slaves that came from Africa and Brazil. The goal in capoeira is not to hit the opponent, but to establish communication. I want my Visiones project to capture the ways that capoeira builds a dialogue between cultures and add to the body of knowledge that each audience member possesses.