On this page, you will gain insight into some of my paintings and their symbolism.
I hope you enjoy each of them as much as I enjoyed creating them.
Ten weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive order 9066. It authorized the incarceration of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of who were U. S. citizens, born and raised in the United States. Their lives and dreams were shattered. Their homes and businesses were lost. For 4 1/2 years, they lived in makeshift barracks, behind barbed wire. Without trial or jury, they were persecuted solely on race.
I have created a child, pledging allegiance to a country that has betrayed her.
The snow covered mountains are wings symbolizing her strength.
The Sun (like the Japanese flag) is a halo. Her innocence radiates like an angel.
The teddy bear represents her belongings; peace, security and comfort. It has been uprooted. Its face is without expression.
The Chrysalis represents the transformation that she undergoes, dying to the person she was.
The butterfly represents new life.
The koi, known for swimming upstream, represents persistence and strength through adversity. Its marks allude to rows of barracks. The barbed wire with all its thorns is transformed into a
cherry blossom tree, a symbol of life, death, and renewal.
The tag represents dehumanization. Each person was given an identification tag, a family number and place of relocation.
In 1988 President Reagan passed the Civil Liberties Act, granting reparations to Japanese Americans who had been incarcerated by the United States government during World War 2. Those who were still living received a restitution payment of $20,000, an attempt by the United States Government to right a grave wrong
Laura Vazquez Rodriguez
Unmask Your Heart, depicts A celebration of the human spirit through these uncertain times.
Through the eye of the storm we see glimpses of hope The wind is moving, the sky is shifting, our eyes are opened. We look at life with greater clarity, with greater appreciation and gratitude.
With our voices muffled by masks, we have opened our hearts and found new ways to express compassion and kindness. Like a window into the young woman’s soul, We see her heart ignited. A heart shaped seed sprouts!
Light permeates through the darkness. Its roots stretch deep, its vines grow far.
The spirit of a dove soars through the sky representing the young woman's inner peace and tranquility.
A butterfly, woven into the woman’s blouse, represents transformative change. On her shoulder rests a hummingbird, it is an extension of her spirit. It signifies this time of stillness and reflection.
The sunflowers represent the sun, light, and life, and growth. For after every moment of darkness there is light.
Like windows that mirror the woman’s heart,
the flowers glow in stark contrast to the gray sky.
In each flower is a SILVER LININIG. Here we see prayer and meditation, human dignity with peace and unity, appreciation of nature and self care, mindfulness & respect of diversity, family, friendship and celebration, gratitude to essential workers, and shelter for “man’s best friends.”
"Raise Your Voice"
La Opinion Interview
--What does it mean for you as a woman of color to be part of such a strong movement?
As a woman and Latina I am honored to have been chosen to represent women of color. By nature women are nurturers. We want Fairness for all. We want to take care of everyone and everything. We are very courageous and have such a spirit of resilience and strength.
Creating this painting really allowed me to appreciate the sacrifices the suffragists made so that my voice could count.
The suffragists knew what it was to be excluded. Their voices were silenced and they were continually denied their vote but they came together, as women often do, in a powerful movement to inspire change!
We should embrace the beauty of diversity and realize the oneness and interdependence of humanity. We are all valuable! We are all worthy of respect, regardless of race, gender, skin tone or income.
We each play a role in this journey of life with our own unique gifts and talents.
The 19th amendment opened the door for all women, to safeguard human dignity, raise their voices, and actively participate in shaping society.
It was important for me, as a woman, to be a part of this project; to use MY VOICE, my art, to keep the suffragists story alive!
"Rise Up! " Inspired by Upright Revolution or Why Humans Walk Upright By Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’O
This painting illustrates my interpretation of this short story. It is a story about conflict and the human struggle for power. It is about harmony and chaos, life and death, unity and division.
This is the story of man’s endurance, his perseverance and his awakening to his life song, as the story goes, we are one body, “us for us” “unity is our power.”
Like the story, my painting is a celebration of man’s life song.
Fashioned uniquely but united in purpose we must rise up and stand together to protect and serve one another in love.
WE ARE ALL CONNECTED... AS STRONG AS WE ARE UNITED, AS WEAK AS WE ARE DIVIDED.
At the bottom of my painting is a lion, strong and beautiful but untamed and fierce, it is ready to attack. The lion stares across at humanity's brokenness, its parts divided and weak. They are prepared to fight but unable to move. Disconnected and crumbling, the body is powerless.
Above the mound is a man who rises up, clothed with the armor of love, unity, and strength.
He is blanketed in peace. He moves forward on his journey of reconciliation and hope. With a staff in hand he walks across the ruins. Butterflies rise up like two hearts united, symbolizing transformation into love, faithfulness and harmony.
In this journey of life, may we come to realize the oneness and interdependence of humanity.
We are one body with many parts. If someone is not well, we are ALL not well.
Before the sun sets on our lives, may we come together to nurture love, compassion and understanding for one another.
Let us celebrate our diversity and reflect and honor our differences as we serve one another with compassion and love.
Laura Vazquez Rodriguez