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Paola Reyes Melendez


2. Installation view, Ken Lum_ Death and Furniture, Art Gallery of Ontario. Artworks © Ken

"Woman on Display" by Paola Reyes Melendez

Paola Reyes Melendez

sM | Given your longstanding involvement with the Precita Eyes Muralist Association, what role do you think murals play in unifying and beautifying elements in a community space?

PRM ── Murals play a vital role in representing and connecting with the community; that is the beauty of public art. It is a reflection of how we see our environment, involving culture and a collective voice. Most murals are seen by local residents and workers, which mends the gap in accessible art for all. Murals are a living art form that invites people into a space with proud, vibrant colors singing “We’re here.”

[Original size] 8.5x11 DISPLAY POSTER.png

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sM | How has Frida Kahlo's defiant expression of her cultural background influenced the notion of "identity" in your works?

PRM ── Frida Kahlo has created an unforgettable image of her roots, celebrating Indigenous Mexican culture and pride. As well as being a communist and feminist artist. Since moving to San Francisco, I have found a large community of strong Mexica individuals who have been able to connect to my indigenous ancestors and be proud of being a Mexican woman. However, the ongoing struggle with violence against women urges the country to step up and provide more resources to investigate, prosecute, punish, and provide reparation for gender-based violence. This has pushed me further to unite strong individuals to demand all our voices be heard in hope for progress will be passed down to future generations.

sM | What is one social issue that your art speaks to the most?

PRM ── My artwork tackles the evolving climate crisis and its relationship to our daily lives. With this complex social issue, I hold a mirror up in the hope to inspire the fight against climate change. Since nature has a special place in my heart, the feeling, enjoyment, and respect for what the earth has to offer is like no other; this feeling began when I visited my first waterfall and was in awe of the sight.

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