Bright and vibrant colors are staples of my Mexican culture and they are also an essential part of my work. In 2011 I redirected my art from commercial art to activism and telling the stories of Charlotte’s LatinX Community, and helping the larger community understand the human impact of our broken immigration system. As I looked into this problem, and I met children who had been affected by deportation, mothers who had lost their support systems, and fathers who were being torn from their families. I realized that we needed to arm ourselves with strength, hope, and resilience. I felt compelled to do something to try to change what was happening. It was important for me to do 3 things:
I wanted to help the children of the LatinX Community tell their stories
I wanted to document what was happening to immigrants in the United States of America
I wanted to use my art to bring about positive change in the immigration system
I combine my creative process with community engagement and action in a practice I call “Artivism.” Through programs like the Papalote Project, The Magic Kite, Day of the Dead Charlotte, and the Red Calaca Mobile Art Studio, I work to harness the power of stories in service of the LatinX Community and immigration rights and reform.
Rosalia Torres-Weiner is an artist, activist and community leader in Charlotte, NC. Her art captures the themes, colors and rich symbolism of her native home of Mexico. In 2010, Rosalia shifted the focus of her work from commercial art to art activism, after witnessing the repeated injustices and dysfunction of our immigration system. Her work is featured in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum has been exhibited in venues including the McColl Center for Arts and Innovation, Levine Museum of the New South, Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art, the Leyland Gallery at Georgia College, UNCC’s Projective Eye Gallery, the City of Raleigh Museum, the Latin American Center for Arts Gallery, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and the Mexican Cultural Institute at the Mexican Embassy in Washington D.C. Her public murals celebrate the rich history as well as the changing demographics of the South. She also uses her art to document social conditions and to raise awareness about issues that are affecting immigrant communities such as family separation, access to public education, racism and moving beyond common stereotypes.
Her story “The Magic Kite” was adapted by The Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, and is also performed as part of her “Suitcase Stories” one-woman show, which was featured at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. She has been a featured speaker for the North Carolina ASC, Johnson & Wales University, George Washington University, the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, and the Southern Foodways Alliance. Through her Red Calaca Mobile Art Studio, a 24-foot "Art Truck" she takes the arts directly to people in underserved areas in Charlotte.