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          Kayla Henriquez is a Cuban-Dominican multidisciplinary artist born and based in Miami, FL. This year, she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a minor in Art History from New World School of the Arts. In her current body of work, she conveys the challenges of family separation by creating mixed media artworks using materials significant to her and her family. Her work also consists of intricate patterns and repetitions using line, shape, and space as a form of movement. With those elements, she projects a sense of order within the struggles of having her family far away. Henriquez was a recipient of the Frances Wolfson Scholarship Award in 2020. She received an Associate in Arts from Miami Dade College with Highest Honors in 2021. She has achieved a place on the Dean's List for each semester in New World School of the Arts College from 2019 to 2022 and is graduating with the highest honors in 2023. Her work was exhibited in the Projects show at the New World School of the Arts gallery in Miami, Florida (2022). Her work was also exhibited at The BluPrnt Show at Bridge Red Studios in North Miami, Florida (2023).​

Artist Statement

          I view my work with symbolism. My process of strategically choosing and utilizing each medium in my work is essential because it is influenced by the separation of my family and me. I strategically choose each medium in my work and the meaning of each shape I create within the linework and the overall structure of the pieces. I create my work using different methods. One is using flat sheets of watercolor paper and working on it with my linework and mixed media. I also enjoy manipulating the paper surface by cutting out some parts of it in irregular shapes and then rearranging them within the piece to represent separation, displacement, and detachment, along with reunion and hope. Another method is constructing layers and overlapping strips of stained sheets of paper using various mediums to form a lattice structure. I use the lattice form as my technique to represent a symbolic bond between all of my intentions and the bond that I have with my family, although they are far away. Among the various materials I use are the soil from my grandparent’s yard in Cuba, soil from the “el campo” of the Dominican Republic, and Florida soil from my yard. I also use other materials such as the Cuban coffee grounds of La Llave (my maternal grandparent’s favorite coffee), orange blossom tea (Florida’s state flower; the orange blossom), chamomile tea (a tea my mom would always give me as a child and throughout my upbringing) and mahogany bark stain (mahogany/caoba is Dominican Republic’s (D.R.) national tree whose bark my paternal grandmother would form a stain with and then use it to dye her hair when she lived in the D.R.). Using all of these powerful mediums, I begin the process by creating a stain out of each of them. I then pour and splash it across the paper and use the unpredictability of the mark each stain makes.

I use thin markers of different colors to form hand-drawn patterns and repetitions on top of the uncontrolled, organic nature of the splatters, developing a sense of movement. To create a strong contrast, I use black markers to draw my intricate patterns because it allows me to create a sense of depth. I often also use red, white, and blue, which evoke the colors of my heritage: the Cuban, Dominican, and American flags. I am inspired by contemporary art and influenced by the contemporary artist Bridget Riley because of her use of lines to create illusions. I find a relationship between my work and Riley’s because we both focus on using lines to project a sense of movement within the pieces.

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