Art students Sapphire Vasquez and Sarah Grigeo display their art in the Juanita Harvey Art Gallery, Sept. 29. (Bridget Reilly)
Art students Sapphire Vasquez and Sarah Grigeo display their art in the Juanita Harvey Art Gallery, Sept. 29.

Bridget Reilly

Hispanic Heritage Month: A visual commemoration

October 9, 2020

As we slowly transition into a new season, Americans across the nation commemorate the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. Inspired by their culture, two students, Sapphire Vasquez, fine arts senior, and Sarah Griego, fine arts senior, cultivated an art exhibition comprised of oil paintings, wooden sculptures and ceramics to pay homage to their ancestors and how far they have come.

“This curation, to me, reflects how I feel about my heritage,” Vasquez said. “It’s the art that came from people of Hispanic heritage. They’re all different, but together they show that even though we all have a similar heritage, we are all our own beings, as the art is too.”

Though Hispanic Heritage month is meant to bring individuals of the Hispanic culture together, Vasquez and Griego strived to create a masterpiece which relishes in the beauty of artistic differences.

three paintings
Art students Sapphire Vasquez and Sarah Grigeo display their art in the Juanita Harvey Art Gallery, Sept. 29. (Bridget Reilly)

“We did not want to be restricted in gathering art that solely deals with what it means to be Hispanic,”Griego said. “We wanted to showcase the individuality of each artist.”

Together Griego and Vasquez created six individual pieces. Griego’s pieces consisted of oil paintings and a collage that was comprised of mixed media. These pieces were named, “Los Herreras,” “Omar Apollo,” and “I’m Drained.” Vasquez’s pieces consisted of oil paintings, a wooden sculpture and a ceramic vase. These pieces were named, “Rebirth and Transformation,” “Boni and the Plague,” and “Koi Fish Olpe”.

“This exhibition means so much to me,” Griego said. “It has been an amazing opportunity for me to be a part of. I felt so honored and accomplished after creating this exhibition. It is especially nice to be able to walk by and see your work every day.”

artwork
Art students Sapphire Vasquez and Sarah Grigeo display their art in the Juanita Harvey Art Gallery, Sept. 29. (Bridget Reilly)

Art has been an integral part of each of the students’ lives, from Vasquez following in her father’s artistic footsteps to Griego becoming inspired by Instagram and Tumblr fan art. Art is their form of expression, and through co-curating their first exhibition they have continued to ignite their passion for telling a story through visuals.

Although the end result is beautiful, Vasquez and Griego said they were under a lot of pressure, because they only had two weeks to finish this exhibition.

“We were given two weeks to gather artists and their art in order to even have an exhibition,” Griego said. “We also realized how little of a Hispanic community we have in our department, which was another challenge itself.”

vase
Art students Sapphire Vasquez and Sarah Grigeo display their art in the Juanita Harvey Art Gallery, Sept. 29. (Bridget Reilly)

“We had to juggle our other classes and our jobs, so that was really a challenge,” Vasquez said, “but we got it done, and I love it so much.”

Despite the challenges they have faced, Vasquez and Griego hope students and faculty of all backgrounds can learn something new about Hispanic culture and see the beauty in their differences.

“I would like people to see the variety of talent that people of Hispanic descent have through their art,” Vasquez said. “We are our own individuals with a connection to one another through our heritage, but it’s a reminder that we are so much more than our heritage. It’s just one component of our lives.”

The Art Through a Heritage: Hispanic Heritage Month exhibition will be open from Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, 2020.

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