Andrea Arroyo: Her art is her voice.
“Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.”
– Frida Kahlo
The visual art of Andrea Arroyo can best be described as always in color and fluidity. Arroyo, a dancer by training gives her art power through the fluidity by which one’s eyes shift towards the vibrant red color or stark whiteness. “My art is about movement,” said Arroyo.
This movement is apparent in her installation “Women with Wings,” is a current site-specific installation in a public garden in Harlem, New York. Arroyo notes that the artwork is a celebration of the women of Harlem. The mixed-media work hangs on the trees of the garden and is outlined in bright red and stark whiteness. The wings fly in the wind interconnecting with the branches of the trees. Creating wisps of women with wings.
The Mexican-born Arroyo is an award-winning artist, illustrator, curator and sought-after lecturer and speaker. She has also created site-specific installations. Her work is exhibited widely and is in private, corporate and public collections around the world. Arroyo has commissions that include permanent indoor and outdoor artwork for private, institutional and corporate spaces. She has a permanent artwork displayed in the Bronx, New York, Gun Hill Road subway station.
The Latina artist is also an illustrator; she’s done work for the International Herald Tribune, The New York Times and The New Yorker. She came to New York in the 1980’s to advance her dance career. Eventually, she fell in love with the visual arts and became a self-taught artist. One immediate aspect that one notices of Arroyo’s art is gracefulness. The way the lines move within the stroke of her brush is light and airy. Whether in the vibrancy of red brushstrokes or the vastness and starkness of white.
One of Arroyo’s inspirations is the artist Frida Kahlo. She admires the artist for her feminism and her unwavering commitment to her art and artistry. Kahlo depicted self-portraits in her creative output and Arroyo’s work is a laud to women and femininity.
As a curator, she made an international call for artists after the Trump election called “Unnatural Election: Artists Respond to the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.” There are more than 200 international artists currently participating in the artist-driven independent project.
Unnatural Election is an art project in response to anxiety and stress felt by artist/curator Arroyo in the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Featuring artwork from around the world, this exhibition questions the election’s impact on social justice, race/gender issues, human rights, economic justice, and international relations.
“The concept of Unnatural Election is simple,” says Arroyo. “Artists are invited to submit a digital image of their artwork, and these works are then hosted on the project’s website. With this project, we hope to keep asking the ever-relevant questions: How do we face the impending challenges of the new presidency? How do we recover, regroup, resist and rebuild?”
Presidential inauguration-eve, Arroyo unveiled a complex response to Trump’s election. “Unnatural Election: Artists Respond to the 2016 Presidential Election,” is a broad reaction to the election of the 45th president of the U.S.
In early November, just days after the U.S. election, Arroyo asked other artists for an artistic response to the result. The worldwide response was immediate and overwhelming. Drawings, sketches and images of fully conceived ideas poured in from all over the world, mostly from people Arroyo had never met.
So far, she’s received more than 250 works, from about 200 artists. “I’m getting more work every day,” she said. The next stop on the tour is the Puffin Cultural Forum in Teaneck, New Jersey until Nov. 10, 2017.
Arroyo’s accolades include New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships, Global Citizen Award Artist, Clinton Global Initiative, 21 Leader for the 21st Century and Outstanding Woman of New York. She has received multiple grants from the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, the Puffin Foundation, the Harlem Arts Alliance and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
“Women with Wings” is a site-specific, outdoor exhibit, on view at Maggie’s & Friendship Gardens, Manhattan, NYC, presented by New York Restoration Project (through Oct. 31, 2017). Arroyo next has a commission from The New York Women’s Foundation as well as continuing the curatorial work for an “Unnatural Election.”