Karina Monroy: Tradition and Connection

Karina’s upbringing as a daughter of Mexican immigrants has led her to seek a life and career dedicated to the social justice and representation of Latinx communities. Her work has been a process of decolonization and rediscovery of her ethnic identity. She was a 2018 Collaborative Resident at The Bridge and now serves as a member of the programming committee.

The Bridge allowed me to plant the seed from which my current body work us growing from.

The importance of a physical space to call your own is something I’ve continuously highlighted in my work. When I started the Collaborative Artist’s Residency at the Bridge I knew that I wanted the gallery space to not only serve as a space for myself to create my work, but I wanted to extend it’s access to community members who might not always have that precious space to create. During my time at The Bridge I facilitated an art-making gathering for Latina women. I asked the women to bring a fruit that reminded them of home. During our session, we shared stories about the fruit we had chosen to bring, and then proceeded to create paintings and embroideries inspired by those fruits.

This gathering was everything I hoped it would be, a safe space for women to gather, talk, create and make connections. We talked of our homes, of where we grew up, of our childhoods and where we found ourselves now. This gathering was so successful that I decided to keep it going, even after my residency at the Bridge. Currently, I’m having these gatherings at The Women’s Initiative twice a month in the evenings. Latina women of different ages, regions and walks of life have been coming together for the sake of creating and connecting with one another. It’s been a beautiful experience and I feel so incredible fortunate to be the facilitator of this project. It’s truly a privilege to be an artist in this community and in this world. I feel we hold a responsibility to create work that serves a purpose beyond the white gallery walls. We hold a responsibility to build bridges.

I am so thankful to The Bridge for allowing giving me this opportunity. As a new member of this community, the Collaborative Artist Residency really helped me integrate into the art community here. I’m excited about where my work is taking me now, but most of all, I’m excited about the connections I am making along the way.