Three Connecticut artists, Margarita Hernandez-Maxson, Sikiu Perez and Millie Donovan exhibit art highly influenced by their native culture.
Margita Hernandez-Maxson grew up in Mexico and began her artistic life as a painter. She began making dolls after she moved to New London and became pregnant with her first son. That was more than three years ago and now, she says, "I'll never go back to painting."
At first, she said the art dolls were made entirely of fabric, hand sewn and hand scultpted. She said she taught herself how to sculpt the facial features and sew the dolls' clothes while she sat with her newborn on the couch. Now, she said, her 3-year-old son provides quality assurance for her product.
"All of these have passed through the hands of my son," she said. "If they survive him, they are good."
Hernandez-Maxson has recently begun making dolls with clay. The clay dolls are flexible and poseable can stand on their own. She said her son managed to break three earlier versions, the fourth prototype was a keeper.
Sikiu Perez learned how to manipulate clay at a young age from her father in Venezuela.
"For me, instead of playing with toys I'd play with his tools and paint," she said.
Now living in Bozrah, she describes her clay tablets as a mosaic of "Ancient Mesoamerican and Pre-Columbian Art... and I give it a whimsical twist."
Millie Donovan is a mixed media artist who grew up in Puerto Rico and now lives in Pawcatuck. Donavan has a degree in graphic art and found that creating art with multiple sources and media was a natural progression of her skills.
"It became something I need to do, she said. "It's almost second nature."
Donovan said that using mixed media helps her break some of the rules that are normally used in fine art.
To view these artists work, visit the i5 Teaching Network gallery in the Gales Ferry Community Center.