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Soy Boricua Artists

Elimagdy Amaro

[email protected]

Elimagdy is a Puerto Rican poet, composer, educator, author, artisan, and Bomba singer. She is passionate about her art and has created the artisan project EliArte which pays homage to Puerto Rico’s African heritage by making dresses on Queen dolls (Reina), turbans, and other African-inspired art. Elimagdy also created the MaHiNi Project, which honors the Puerto Rican mothers and grandmothers who passed down the tradition of making rag dolls (muñecas de trapo). She also performs with the Bomba Group, Con mi Verso y con mi Tambor. In addition, Elimagdy is the author of two books – “Find Me in My Self” and the anthology, “Five Worlds.” Her works of art are a testament to her passion for preserving and promoting Afro-Puerto Rican art, culture and traditions.

Sandra Antongiorgi

SandraAntongiorgi.com

Sandra is an inter-disciplinary artist born in Puerto Rico and raised in Chicago where she developed a diverse body of work in the arts. Sandra is a dynamic visual artist, muralist, musician and songwriter. Through her experience in the city, she has explored and refined her artistic talents in various mediums. Most of her works of art focus on three major themes: 1) celebrating culture, tradition and unity within and across communities, 2) uplifting LGBTQIA+ images and symbols, and 3) centering images of people whose images are not well represented in general iconography. This includes women of color, trans, queer people and disabled individuals. She has created scores of murals in Chicago, a city known for the character and strength of its neighborhoods.  She is an inspiration to many,

Janice Aponte

AponteArt.com

Janice is a visual artist based in Chicago. From a young age, she developed an intuitive appreciation for art. Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and raised in New York, Aponte encountered the challenge of adapting to different cultural values each time she moved between the two locations. Nevertheless, her passion for art remained unwavering. As a self-taught artist, Aponte devoted her time to honing her craft and soon developed a mature style of her own. She also channels her creativity by designing fashion and jewelry. Her work is a mix of expressionism and realism that evokes femininity, love and celebrates her Puerto Rican cultural roots.

Amara "Rebel Betty" Martin

RebelBettyArte.com

Amara “Rebel Betty” Martin is an extraordinary AfroIndigenous Puerto Rican poet, multidisciplinary artist and cultural worker based in Chicago. Her work is centered on preserving culture in Black and Brown communities through facilitated dialogue, poetry, music, education and the arts. Rebel Betty’s mission is to create a safe space for the development of Black and Brown identities and to encourage marginalized people to tell their stories and to reclaim control of their narrative. Through her projects and initiatives, she has been able to create meaningful connections with the people she works with. She is a powerful advocate for social justice.

Migdalia was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, and migrated to Chicago with her family when she was four years old in 1956. As a young child, she was passionate about drawing. Galarza remembers the first time she held her first crayons in first grade and how she learned to draw before she could read and speak English. As an adult, Migdalia kept working her day jobs but was able to find time to doodle. She used her drawings as a sounding board to record, eternalize and reflect on the emotions that surfaced. Now in her retirement years, Migdalia appreciates the gift of art and embraces the beauty of each stroke. Through her artwork, Migdalia is able to express her experiences and share her stories with others.

Sam Kirk

IamSamKirk.com

Sam is a Chicago-based, award-winning Multidisciplinary Artist who has been exploring culture and identity politics for 15 years.  Kirk’s fascination with the nuances of the human experience was nurtured during her childhood while her family moved between different neighborhoods in Chicago. During this time, she discovered the city’s cultures and sorted through her identity as a bi-racial, queer woman. Kirk’s artwork highly reflects her life experience, as she uses her artistic practice to explore the complexities of cultural identity, power, and representation. Her artwork challenges the status quo and creates meaningful and lasting conversations about social justice and equity. 

Melissa and Michelle Gomez are a dynamic sister duo that have their roots in the Humboldt Park, West Town, and Wicker Park communities. For the past 22 years, they have been running their beauty haven, Dynamic Salon, in Wicker Park with success. Michelle received her education in fashion design from IADT, and has created runway designs and collections, even styling celebrities. Melissa, has inherited the entrepreneurial spirit of their parents, and has studied business administration and cosmetology. Together, they work at Dynamic Salon every day. Through their hard work, the Gomez sisters have built a salon that is a retreat for beauty, relaxation, and comfort. In addition to running a successful business, these DYNAMIC sisters proudly collaborate in Fashion Shows, Festivals and Cultural Events.

Melissa and Michelle Gomez are a dynamic sister duo that have their roots in the Humboldt Park, West Town, and Wicker Park communities. For the past 22 years, they have been running their beauty haven, Dynamic Salon, in Wicker Park with success. Michelle received her education in fashion design from IADT, and has created runway designs and collections, even styling celebrities. Melissa, has inherited the entrepreneurial spirit of their parents, and has studied business administration and cosmetology. Together, they work at Dynamic Salon every day. Through their hard work, the Gomez sisters have built a salon that is a retreat for beauty, relaxation, and comfort. In addition to running a successful business, these DYNAMIC sisters proudly collaborate in Fashion Shows, Festivals and Cultural Events.

Erica is a wife, mother, daughter, aunt, educator, and an Artist. She learned how to use a scroll saw when she was only 11 years old at Brands Park in Chicago. She completely forgot she had these skills until Covid-19 gave her time at home to tap into her creativity. Erica started painting and then in 2020, she purchased a scroll saw and started creating. She was living in New Orleans, LA at the time and when Hurricane Zeta came through the city, there was an abundance of free fence wood in front of houses. What started out as just a hobby was built into detailed scroll saw art. She makes word signs, earrings, plant propagation stations, and of course her wall art. Erica loves to focus on culture, dancers, musicians, instruments, and powerful women in her pieces.

Patricia has had an impressive journey as an artist. From a young age, her interest in art was sparked when she observed her maternal grandmother making crafts and sewing her own clothes from hand drawn patterns. At the age of nine, she learned to manipulate oil paint on canvas after watching Bill Alexander’s The Joy of Oil Painting on PBS. During her high school years, she painted replicas of the Sistine Chapel onto antique furniture pieces, as well as exploring self-portrait color pencil drawings. Patricia went on to study at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and successfully finished her art degree at Northeastern Illinois University. Patricia Perez’s dedication and passion for art is evident in all her works.

Lorimar is a full-time stay-at-home mom and artist based in the southwest side of Chicago. She is deeply rooted in her Puerto Rican culture. Her use of bright colors and bold lines, coupled with the incorporation of Vejigantes masks in her work, reflects her desire to explore what it means to grow up as a first-generation Puerto Rican. Through her art, Lorimar wants to illicit a sense of joy and warmth in her viewers, all the while dealing with her feelings of anxiety and depression. Her work serves as a reminder that we all have the power to make conscious daily decisions that lead to our own joy and happiness. Lorimar’s artistic journey is an inspiration for anyone looking to connect with their roots and find joy and beauty in the world around them.

Nohemi Moran

NomeePhotography.com

Nohemi is a first generation Latina, born and raised in Chicago. She grew up in the city surrounded by family and filled with the culture of her parents who are from Puerto Rico and Mexico. From an early age she was fascinated with the arts, from pencil and paper to paint and canvas, even musical instruments, but ultimately she found her passion in photography. Nohemi studied film photography at the Richard Stromberg Chicago Photography Center in 2005. After her time there, she opened her business, Nomee Photography, in 2009. As her work evolved she’s been able to capture movement within stillness, from dancers and cultures on her travels, and experiences within communities along the way.

Click HERE to download the Soy Boricua catalogue to learn more about their works on exhibit from March – December 2023.

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