By Ruth E. Hernandez Beltran
NEW YORK – Prizewinning artists Andrea Arroyo and Felipe Galindo have “Mexicanized” the oldest mansion in New York with their exhibitions, in which she pays tribute to womankind and he with his drawings creates an imaginary visit by George Washington to Manhattan’s Washington Heights section, home to the largest Dominican community in the United States.
In the exhibition, which runs until Jan. 7 and which Arroyo has entitled “Women Unbound,” the artist does not forget her roots, paying tribute to her own country’s pre-Columbian goddesses and others from the mythologies of ancient Greece and India.
The artist told Efe she was inspired to create these works – in which she presents nude female figures on canvas and lace – by Eliza Jumel, the last owner of the Morris-Jumel Mansion, the oldest house in Manhattan, built in 1765 and which is today the Morris-Jumel Mansion Museum, where Arroyo is showing her work together with that of her husband, Felipe Galindo.
“It is a tribute to the historical and contemporary woman, because woman is life, creativity, strength. Womankind has always inspired my work,” the artist said.
The idea of staging an exhibit in this historic dwelling was to integrate her paintings into the different rooms “in such a way that they are seen as contemporary works of art, but also as a tribute to the Upper Manhattan area where they are being shown, and to the immigrants who come here with our own culture,” Arroyo said.
Notable among the works is one on lace that Arroyo painted with a figure inspired by Martha Washington at a time when her husband George Washington was fighting the American War of Independence against the English crown.
The painting on lace is displayed over the bed where Washington slept during the 30 days he stayed here, using the mansion as headquarters for his army during the 1776 Battle of Harlem Heights. EFE