Story by Sherry Mazzocchi
It was supposed to be a celebration.
There were friends, flan and champagne. But by 10 p.m. on Election Night, the mood shifted. Friends said goodbye. The champagne was left unopened.
The election results left artist Andrea Arroyo utterly devastated.
She and her husband Felipe Galindo are both from Mexico. They were concerned about family members, friends and now also millions of suddenly very vulnerable people.
“I was a mess,” she said. “I haven’t cried so much since my brother died.”
Much of Arroyo’s art work is supremely joyful. It’s full of bright colors, swirling movement and portrayals of enigmatically smiling goddesses. But other times her work takes a darker turn. In exhibitions called “The Disappeared” – dedicated to the hundreds of missing women who’ve turned up dead along the Mexican border – her work reflects a sublime sense of grief.
Yet this time the sorrow was more profound. When she went into her studio to work, she felt paralyzed. “It was like 9/11,” she said.
She composed one piece, of two hands holding a dark sun. The black orb reflected the moment, but she wanted to hold on to the thought that people clasping hands are stronger when united.
That gave her the idea to contact other artists. Not long after sending out a mass email, she received images of 30 works of art, with more coming in daily.
The results are being compiled on a website and Facebook page called “Unnatural Election: Artists Respond to the 2016 Presidential Election.”
People from everywhere from Northern Manhattan to Bangladesh have contributed work.
Arroyo hopes to secure a venue for the ever expanding collection so people can see the work in person. She’s talked to several people who expressed interest in an exhibition. “Hopefully I will have hundreds of images,” she said.