A Philadelphia legacy of Latina solidarity and art
The loved ones of artists are luckier than most, because even after the artist dies, the work lives on. I said something along those lines during a tribute held at the Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia, after my mother — a sculptor whose pieces are part of Philadelphia's public art patrimony — died suddenly of an undetected brain aneurysm in 2000.
In the intervening 14 years, my observation has proved true. It goes beyond being able to see her "Mayan Game Group" on Howard Street, between Huntingdon and Lehigh in the Kensington section of the city, or to visit her "House of Knowledge" sculpture in front of Cheltenham Library. My father ensured that another of my mother's legacies — her pioneering work to break down barriers and open opportunities for women in the arts in Latin America — would live on when he established the Joyce de Guatemala visiting artist scholarship at Philadelphia's storied Brandywine Workshop.
The organization was one my mother greatly admired. She had found open-hearted welcome and respect as a Latina artist there, as well as collegiality as a board member. We later decided to expand the scholarship to honor my father as well, and to ensure that the Joyce de Guatemala and Jason Vourvoulias Funds would support local Latina artists.
The first of these visiting artists scholarships was recently accorded to Philadelphia artist Doris Nogueira-Rogers. The three-month visiting artist residency at the Brandywine Workshop will enable Nogueira-Rogers to develop one or more pieces to be produced on the organization's flat–bed offset press, and including printmaking processes such as screen-printing, relief or collage.
"Nogueira-Rogers is a Brazilian-born, 63-year-old mixed media artist who has been an active, supportive member of the Latino Art community in Philadelphia for many years," said Brandywine Workshop President Allan Edmunds. "Her talent and commitment to her community here and in Rio de Janeiro make her an excellent torch bearer for Joyce."
In fact, Noguiera-Rogers knew my mother.
"I would like to express my happiness as the recipient of the first Joyce De Guatemala visiting artist scholarship at Brandywine Workshop," she wrote in an email to me. "I feel so, so honored. I had the privilege to know Joyce. We showed our work side by side in many exhibitions, as a guest curator she was one of my choices, and a lovely visit to her home and studio showed me how much we had in common. She was an inspiration to so many."
It would have pleased my parents, as well, to know that the residency will be presented to a mid-career artist, thus affording her the freedom to explore offset lithography as a new medium.
"This scholarship will give me the opportunity to live an longtime dream of producing a ' special piece' in our beloved Brandywine Workshop," Nogueira-Rogers said. "What is most important to me at this point in my life is to create something that will be part of a collection that is the legacy and voice of a Latina artist."