Dovey Martinez | El Chofer
Acrylic on Canvas
16" x 24"
Artist StatementI strive to use paint and personal imagery of my friends and family to share a story of labor, struggle, perseverance, motivation, and identity. In this work you will see paintings of my single mother, a Honduran immigrant to the United States who has been working as a domestic housekeeper for thirty years. I have had the privilege of attending private education on scholarships from middle school onward. I received my bachelor’s degree in studio arts from Connecticut College in 2018. I am currently a teaching artist working for organizations such as Gage Academy of fine Art and Urban Artworks teaching drawing and painting.
In high school, my mother went to a gathering at my private high school in Seattle, Washington to meet other parents. I remember asking her why she only went once and did not return to the monthly parent gatherings. She told me that most parents had careers such as lawyers and doctors and she was embarrassed when she was asked what she did for work. This is what serves as my motivation to paint. I want to depict my mother in her labor in order to share our story as well as to serve as representational pieces to other immigrant families.
I use gold paint over the face and bodies of the people I paint as a metaphor for their high value to second generation immigrant children, but also to America. Immigrants are selfless. Immigrants are strong and resilient and work to help their own families but also are constantly seeking to build community. It is not my intent to create art to elevate myself, but rather to share the beauty and value of my Honduran and Latinx community.
Every painting depicts someone I know on a personal level. The imagery is gathered from my travels to Honduras, to the callejones in Los Angeles, and my neighborhood in Seattle. I am painting my mom, my grandma, myself, but also the parents of my friends and others I with whom I have been raised. The color choices are bright and vibrant to represent the color palette of traditional Honduran paintings.
I am excited to share with others the resilience and beauty of those in my community with viewers who may not have experienced this otherwise. I hope these paintings serve as motivación to be proud of your own culture and value it as gold, in particular those who’ve sacrificed much to provide opportunities for us.
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