When you are a person of color in the US, you often get asked, where are you from originally? How long have you (or your family) been here? And then that gets followed up with “wow your English is perfect” or “you don’t act like (insert your ethnic group here)”
Interactions like these can mess with how you perceive yourself and how you interact in the future. As a first-generation Puerto Rican Stateside American you always feel like there you’re in a strange limbo of protecting and keeping your culture alive and trying to fit into American culture. Sometimes you feel ashamed of your mother tongue and heritage and other times you scream “Yo soy Boriqua Pa’ Que Tu Lo Sepas!” The three pieces I’m presenting to you are a small look into what it feels like for me to be Puerto Rican American.
The masks in the paintings are Vejigante masks and they are used in many celebrations on the Island but were first created by the Tanios and African slaves to scare off slavers when they would try to recapture runaway slaves. I wanted to depict strong Puerto Rican women going through regular American life events but the only indication they are are Puerto Rican are the masks, because we just like anyone else is just trying to live our lives like everyone else. Nothing about being Puerto Rican makes us different but everything about being Puerto Rican makes us different.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Lorimar Matos is a full-time stay-at-home mom and artist based in Oak Park Il. Her art is centered around the use of bright colors, bold lines, and the human figure as vehicles to explore the impact of growing up as a first-generation Puerto Rican American. Lorimar wants her work to bring a sense of joy and warmth to its viewers as she uses her work as a way to escape feelings of anxiousness and depression. To answer questions about her Identity and exercise a conscious daily decision to make her own joy and happiness.
© Lorimar Matos”Buy