Visiting Guatemalan artist expresses spirituality of her childhood

HANCOCK — The Copper Country Community Arts Center hosted visiting Guatemalan artist Raquel Alvizures for a potluck and presentation at a reception on Friday evening.

Alvizures is a Michigan Tech Performing and Visual Arts visiting artist who works primarily with acrylics. She has been in residence for nearly a month, creating new paintings and a mural while here.

Assistant professor of Visual and Performing Arts Lisa Gordillo is responsible for bringing Alvizures to town, with much influence from her own artwork and her husband, who is also Guatemalan.

“We are this wonderful town that is a collection of lots of different things and we can also be a little isolated,” Gordillo said, “and I just always really believe in the value of connection and in lots of different people and cultures hanging out together. Her (Alvizures’) work is gorgeous, and she has really beautiful things to say about it and the community that she came from, which is also small like ours.”

During the presentation Alvizures words were translated by Leyre Alegre, a professor of Spanish.

Alvizures answered questions, gave a short tale of her life and told stories from her childhood growing up in a rural town.

She explained how those things influence her art. A lot of her work is influenced by mountains, hills, houses, animals, roads and many things she saw growing up.

“My mind is like a camera that can zoom in and zoom out and this is like a closeup,” she said.

Alvizures describes her work as expressing spirituality and pain. Although she’s known to use a lot of red to express warmth she recently started bringing in more browns and yellows.

“I started bringing in more happiness in the paintings,” she said.

The colors relate to what she sees in the soil and the landscape, she said.

“It’s great to have a Guatemalan artist here,” said Linda Belote, one of the attendees.

Belote’s husband, Jim, said: “It was interesting really different. I don’t follow artists very much, so it’s interesting to hear the expression of what they’re trying to do.”

Alvizures also announced the name she plans to give to the mural as “The Observer” — the person who is looking.

“When I arrived here, I started seeing Guatemala as a very very tiny place,” she said. “I wanted to leave a remembrance and a piece of Guatemala here, so I related it to a Mayan place in Guatemala.”

“Always Room for Rain” showcases Alvizures and Ross Chaney’s work at the Rozsa Center’s Gallery A-Space. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., and Saturday from 1-8 p.m.