Local Arts

On the Charlotte mural tour: Rosalia Torres-Weiner, teaching that art can change minds

Rosalia Torres-Weiner with her “Mother Nature” for Friendship Trays.
Rosalia Torres-Weiner with her “Mother Nature” for Friendship Trays. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

Every mural by Rosalia Torres-Weiner tells a story of real people, she says. Her mural “Mother Nature,” outside the meal-delivery nonprofit Friendship Trays in South End, is a testament to the women who run it and make up the majority of staff. “We’re in charge; we can be in charge, too.”

She completed the mural in April with the help of some friends who volunteered.

The wall was not easy to paint, with wires, electrical boxes and poles in the way. Torres-Weiner says she welcomed the challenge, though.

The wires at the top of the wall became Mother Nature’s hair, and the poles blend in as an intricate part of the piece. The background is bright yellow, with greens, pinks, blues and red characterizing the woman. “This is the beauty of finding an ugly wall and making it beautiful.”

All of Torres-Weiner’s artwork is her way of representing the Latino community in Charlotte, she says. She attracts people with shapes and vibrant colors that represent her Mexican heritage and capture people’s attention. Murals such as “Lady of Guadalupe” at Tacos El Nevado celebrate the opportunities that come with migrating to America. Others, such as “Papalote” outside of Las Delicias Bakery, tell the stories of children facing deportation within their family. She says oftentimes her murals “look pretty, but the story behind: Sometimes it’s not that happy.”

You can also see Torres-Weiner’s work if you happen to be going through Washington D.C., with a mural and exhibition at the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum. When she is not busy painting, Torres-Weiner travels to disadvantaged neighborhoods in her mobile art studio, and teaches art to children. Bringing the resources to them, she says, she can teach that “Art can change the mind of people.”

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