Represented by MS17 Art Project
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Imna Arroyo is an educator, activist and artist. She is a painter, printmaker, papermaker and bookmaker, who also works on multi media installations. Her artistic work has been devoted to exploring the connections between the African Continent and the Diaspora. She was born in Guayama, Puerto Rico. She studied at La Escuela de Artes Plasticas del Instituto de Cultura in San Juan, Puerto Rico and obtained her BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and her MFA from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. She also studied other printmaking techniques at the Tamarind Institute, New Mexico, the New York University Printmaking Studio, the University of Guanajuato, Mexico and Non-toxic Printmaking Methods at the Canadian School for Non-Toxic Printmaking, Summer International Printmaking Workshop, and Grande Prairie Regional College, Alberta, Canada. Her work is included in numerous collections including the Museum of Modern Art Library/Franklin Furnace Artist Book Collection and the Schomberg Center for Research and Black Culture, NY, the Yale Art Gallery, CT and Casa de las Americas and the Museum Casa Africa, Habana, Cuba.
Imna Arroyo has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants including several professional development grants. She received the 2010 title of Connecticut State University (CSU) Professor at Eastern Connecticut State University in recognition of her teaching, mentorship and internationally acclaimed artistic endeavors overseas and throughout the United States. In 2007, she received the honorary title of Chief Yeye Agboola of Ido Osun, (Chief Mother of the Garden of Honor) in recognition of selfless service to the upliftment of Ido-Osun Kingdom conferred by his Royal Majesty Aderemi Adeen Adeniyi-Adedapo, Ido-Osun, Nigeria, and West Africa. She received from Eastern the 2008 Distinguished Faculty Award and the 2000 Excellence Award, in Recognition of excellence in creative and scholarship activity. She is the recipient of the 2003 Steinkraus-Cohen Memorial Outstanding Women of Connecticut Award, in recognition of achievements and dedication to public service under the auspices of the United Nations Association of the USA (Connecticut, Southwestern Chapter) and UNIFEM-Connecticut, members of the CT. She was awarded the 2012 Outstanding Latino/a Cultural Award from AAHHE the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education for artistic achievements that have contributed significantly to the understanding of Latino culture.
Arroyo has exhibited extensively throughout the United States, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama, Mexico and the Czech Republic. In 2011, she was invited to participate in The Living Legacy of 30 Million Untold Stories, United Nations, International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
IROKO is inspired by the sacred Tree of Life, known as Iroko to the Yoruba people of West Africa and those of the African Diaspora, Yaxché to the Maya, Kapok in Southeast Asia, Silk-Cotton Tree to Indigenous North Americans, and La Ceiba in the Caribbean, Central and South America. The tree is of great symbolic, spiritual, mythological, medicinal, magical, commercial, ecological and aesthetic import. Through the exploration of materials old and new, traditional and innovative technologies this multi-media installation will focus on the mysteries of nature using the Iroko/ Yaxché/ Kapok/ La Ceiba / Silk-Cotton Tree as an anchor to express the power of nature, its continuity and resiliency which hold the promise for a sustainable future if nurtured and honored.
Humberto Figueroa from Puerto Rico and Migdalia Salas of MS17 Art Project Gallery are the curators of the exhibition. Art installations are by Imna Arroyo and include drawings on Amate paper, etchings and handmade paper and encaustic relief prints, reed fiber woven sculptures with multi-media videos. The videos were created in collaboration with graphic and digital media artist, Tao Chen, and video producer, Jaime Gomez. The video includes interviews of the Katanzama Indigenous people of Columbia by Jaime Gomez and videographer Julio Charris as well as traditional Yoruba Orisha songs sung by Amma McKen, Iya Ola and Swahili Henry and a new dance performed by Sinque Tavares and choreographer Alycia Bright-Holland. IROKO also includes a book featuring essay contributions by ecologist, Carmen R. Cid, art historian, Maline Werness-Rude, and writers Isis Mattei, Maria Vazquez, Esperanza Cáseres Santa Cruz, Jaime Gómez, Migdalia Salas and Humberto Figueroa