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Art of Gold

By Kelsie Allen Barton | January 18, 2019 | Articles

Meet Yehimi A. Cambrón Álvarez, one of 11 artists selected to install a total of 30 murals across the city leading up to Super Bowl LIII as part of Off the Wall: Atlanta’s Civil Rights & Social Justice Journey, a collaboration between ATL arts organization WonderRoot and the Super Bowl Host Committee. In addition to being a brilliant muralist (look for her works titled “Monuments: We Carry the Dreams” and “Faces of Atlanta’s Undocumented: The Resilience of Our Community”), the Agnes Scott College alum has a fascinating story: Born in a small town in the mountainous region of Michoacán, Mexico; and raised in Morelia, the capital of Michoacán, Cambrón Álvarez immigrated with her family to Atlanta when she was 7 years old to flee poverty and violence, ultimately gaining protection through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. “There’s more about our existence that unifies us than divides us,” says the artist. “I hope everyone sees a little bit of themselves represented in each of these murals.” Here, she sounds off. @ycambron

ON DISCOVERING HER LOVE FOR ART “When I arrived in Atlanta and entered school late in the third grade, I didn’t speak any English. My world had been flipped upside down, and art was the only thing I understood. The art classroom was the only space at school where I didn’t feel alienated or ignorant because all I had to do to be successful was create. I’ve never stopped making art since then.”

ON BEING CHOSEN TO PARTICIPATE IN OFF THE WALL “It humbles and empowers me. … I am a young Mexicana undocumented artist, and this identity is a huge point of pride for me. I want to take back my narrative and that of my parents, who are the original dreamers, and frame it in a positive, empowering and uncensored way through my art. This citywide initiative is allowing me to break boundaries and fulfill my purpose.”

”I hope that they walk away with their hearts full of the messages of resilience and solidarity that the narratives and portraits convey. I also hope that my work expands people’s worldview and their awareness of who is undocumented—that undocumented people do not fit into one profile and that we are not a single narrative.”


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