Mercury Mambo celebrated Hispanic Heritage month by launching an art contest for young Hispanic artists across the U.S. The contest, entitled “50 Million +” invited students ages 12 – 18 years to capture and express their feelings about being one of the 50 million plus Hispanics in the United States and cash prizes were awarded to the top 3 finalists.
In March 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau reported the Hispanic population had surpassed 50 million and accounts for more than half of the 27.3-million U.S. population increase over the last decade. Today Hispanics are a growing influence, accounting for 1 in 6 Americans, who will continue playing an integral role in shaping the future of America.
Celebrating this cultural landmark, Mercury Mambo launched the “50 Million+” Art Contest with the goal of highlighting young artists and how they choose to show the world what it means to be one of the 50 Million + strong, + proud and + inspiring!
Inspiration across borders
Luis Ramirez, age 17, and a student at Southwest HS in San Antonio, won the Grand Prize Award. “To my surprise I won the contest! It was quite unexpected and exciting. This meant a lot to me because I honestly was inspired.” Ramirez takes pride in this opportunity, “I wanted to challenge my artistic abilities in making something that represents my heritage.”
Ramirez’s inspiration was fed by his learning of the growing Hispanic population and its influence on “music, food, fashion and cultural trends today, more than ever before.”
During his research, Ramirez said one term provided inspiration: “illegal aliens.” “It popped into my head that although America tries to stop us from crossing the border, our culture, music, religion and lifestyle will still live on. It’s impossible to stop our heritage and culture from influencing others around the world. There are no boundaries within our culture. We are meant to continue expanding.” Ramirez is excited to be a part of the growing Hispanic minority whose culture is filled with heart, strength and hope. “If you are asking to describe my piece in two words, I would say Unstoppable and Influential.”
Ramirez’s grandmother influences his talents and gives him the encouragement he needs to challenge him artistically. “Without her inspiring words I wouldn’t be where I am right now.” Art has been a part of Ramirez’s life since he was young. Drawing helps him think and relieves stress. “Art is my only way of escaping life and creating a world without any implied limitation.”
Somos el Futuro
Ana Suarez, age 18 from McAllen, TX, and Alyson Garcia, age 16 of Adkins, TX, won Second Prize Awards. Like Luis they are extremely proud of their cultural legacy and believe their culture brings something special and positive to American culture. They too found inspiration in their families.
Ana Suarez loved the challenge proposed – “It was something I could relate to and simultaneously have fun creating.” Ana’s younger cousin, who appears in the background of her artwork, inspires her work. “Young Hispanics like him make you feel hope for our community in the United States and all over the world.”
She explains her artwork’s series of painted words as an attempt to bring to life the depth of Hispanic culture, while the colors she uses represent the bright colors of each Hispanic country flag. “Somos el Futuro” written in the center is the perfect synthesis of her work and her true feeling regarding Hispanics’ place in the world. “I wanted to express, with all the qualities written, that we can provide more to the world than just a number.” That’s why she describes her work as flamboyant and hopeful.
Alyson enjoyed the opportunity to “embrace culture through art.” Inspired by all of her family celebrations, she wanted to express the fun and colorful side of life, classifying her piece as exhilarating and vivid. She also emphasizes the influence of her family’s history, particularly her great-great-great-great uncle Losoya, who fought in the Battle of the Alamo.
Alyson and Ana both consider art an amazing medium to express what words cannot. Art allows them to show their feelings with no limits.
Luis aspires to attend college and receive a Masters in Architecture. Ana plans to major in Advertising and continue onto Law School and Alyson’s goal is to be a well-known artist.
Mercury Mambo congratulates all of the young artists who participated.
“The passions and talents of today’s youth transcend cultures and we are excited to support these young artists and celebrate what it means to be a part of the 50 Million+,” says Becky Arreaga, Mercury Mambo President.