by Abaki Beck
This week, we’re profiling the super dope Latina artist and activist, Favianna Rodriguez. Her work is beautiful and visually stimulating, in addition to tackling issues such as immigration, globalization, racism, climate change, patriarchy, and sexuality.
She is the daughter of immigrants, and identifies as a queer Latina with Afro-Peruvian roots. She became politically aware and active at a young age, both from witnessing racism and sexual violence impacting her home community and from being around Latinx activists. In her twenties, she began to be hired to create artwork for racial justice movements in Oakland, California. This led her to eventually drop out of college to become an entrepreneur. She notes that though her parents encouraged education, the educational system did not fit what she wanted in life, and it became repressive to fit that mold.
Her prints are colorful, graphic, and political. Her work is so arresting because it goes beyond simple political awareness to political involvement and community building. In a 2013 interview with Bitch Magazine she noted:
“My earlier work helped me emerge as a "political artist," but to be honest I never liked that title. My work has always been based on my environment, my community, my experiences—it's always just been about the life I'm living and all the forces that affect me and my community, and those who look like me. Part of being an artist is understanding what unites all of us. I've become known as a Latina artist whose work focuses on migration, but it's a human issue that impacts all of us.”
Favianna is not only inspiring and badass as an artist and activist, but as a business woman. She knows her worth. She recognizes that as a woman of color, it is sometimes necessary to be your own boss and not wait to be discovered. In addition to her personal work, Favianna is the co-founder of two incredible organizations: Presente, which is dedicated to empowering and amplifying the voices of Latinx people, and CultureStrike, a network of artists and social agitators who host social justice events and campaigns. She is also well known for her project Migration is Beautiful, which uses the image of a butterfly and wings to reimagine borders and immigration.
Favianna’s work is expansive, and it is well worth the effort to learn more about her projects and look at her prints and posters. Below, we highlight some of her work that span a wide range of issues.
The Pussy Power Imaginary is an powerful series promoting women’s empowerment and political rights. Favianna is a defender of sex workers rights, speaks out about slut-shaming, and encourages sexual empowerment for women. Image from Justseeds.
Favianna is a strong ally to the undocumented community. She created “Migration is Beautiful” at a workshop with artists and activists in 2012. Today, the image of the butterfly is used to represent the power of migration at demonstrations and events across the nation. (Learn more and get involved here!) Image from Favianna.com.
Favianna openly identifies as queer and polyamorous, and her work often explores ideas of sexuality and connection. This piece, “Over the Rainbow,” explores these identities. Image from Facebook.