06: Salvadorian & Cuban-American artist, Manuela Guillén


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Do you ever have the urge to sell everything you own and move to a tropical island? Well this week’s [Draws in Spanish] guest did just that! Although Manuela doesn’t consider herself someone who usually makes impulse decisions, we talked all about how her time living abroad in Isla Mujeres, Mexico and how her experiences in Latin America directly influence her work to this day.

Manuela, now an artist and educator based in Philadelphia, was raised in South Florida and moved to a predominately white suburb in New Jersey. During her high school years, Manuela felt ostracized for being Latina and found solidarity with other creative kids of color.

Manuela’s family has always been extremely supportive of her creativity and encouraged her to pursue her dreams of being an artist. With her family’s support, she went on to attend Stockton University where she developed a series of paintings that celebrated her family’s immigration story, and kicked off her more “political” work. Now, Manuela fully believes in art’s power to create social change by disarming viewers and showing them a new perspective.

Beyond her relationship with art, we also discussed body image issues associated with Latinx women, identifying with alternative and “emo” subcultures, and the unwanted attention of speaking Spanish publicly in suburban New Jersey. Listen to this episode to learn more about Manuela’s complex identity and unique path as an artist.

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Guest Info

Check out Manuela’s latest work on Instagram, view her portfolio, or shop her online store.

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Topics Covered:

  1. Impulsively Moving to Isla Mujeres in Mexico
  2. Being an Art Teacher in North Philly
  3. How Living Abroad in Tropical Places Has Shaped Her Work
  4. How Her Cuban and Salvadorian Culture Influence Her
  5. The Diversity of Culture and Food in Latin America
  6. Speaking Spanish in White Dominated Spaces
  7. Feeling Ostracized because of your Latinx Culture
  8. Finding Community Through Art
  9. Breaking Down Negative Cuban and Latinx Stereotypes
  10. How Art Can Create Social Change

19 ตอน