WOTY 2.4: Latino Youth

Hunter East Harlem Gallery
2180 3rd Avenue
New York, NY

Through September 27

Latino Youth is a portrait series by the Nicaraguan born artist Lola Sandino Stanton. The series depicts a personal reflection on young latinos, some of whom were former students of Stanton’s. The subjects are captured at the moment of discovering their own voice at a pivotal time in their lives. Each painting portrays a symbolic blackbird native to the artist’s home country of Nicaragua, known as a “Zanate”.

Traditionally a black bird represents a malevolent force although in Stanton’s work, the Zanate symbolizes the arrival of guidance, protection, and creativity in the lives of the youth. Stanton is aware of the challenges that most young latinos confront growing up, including immigration struggles, language barriers, and cultural norms that do not reflect their cultural upbringing or beliefs. For these reasons she chose to represent an empowered image of young latinos, unlocking their inner voice and bolstering them into a confident position.

For latinos, the current moment in the United States is one of the most hostile in history with new migratory reform and the zero tolerance policy at the Mexico border separating families and this makes the series “Latino Youth” all the more urgent. Lola Sandino Stanton brings an image of a strong latino youth community — one that is proud of their heritage and rising to have their voices heard.

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