Activism can manifest itself in many different ways, including art. For Rima Makaryan, making art as a form of activism, is a passion. With volunteers’ support, she is creating her second mural at Montgomery High School, titled “DREAMER”, which is based around the theme of immigration.
The topic is not something unfamiliar to Makaryan, who immigrated from Armenia with her family in 2010. In recent years, she has become more involved in activism, specifically immigrant rights, and has been using her talents as a form to express that. “Art is a way to cross so many barriers, sometimes in ways that words cannot do,” she said. Last year she painted another mural at Montgomery High School, based around Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The wide mural, which stands at 32 feet long and 12 high, depicts a woman facing west, surrounded by monarch butterflies. It’s made up of many components. “The face is broken down into different skin colors, and symbolizes how immigrants don’t come in a single color, there’s a variety of shades,” Makaryan explained.
The monarch butterflies, adopted by immigrant rights activist as a symbol of resilience, are there to serve as a guiding force. “They guide the girl as she’s going across her journey. I hope to create a feel of fearless. She has her eyes closed because she’s not afraid of what’s ahead of her and she’s facing everything head on.”
Makaryan is vice chair of the Junior Commissioner Project, under the Commission on Human Rights for Sonoma County. As part of her role on the commission, she visits different high schools in the area to discuss human and immigrant rights, with as many as 600 students. One of the things she has noticed is the way people treat immigrants. People who immigrate to the United States legally and those who do not are treated differently, she noted. These experiences have all helped form the design for her mural.
She hopes people take away from her mural that immigration is beautiful. “It’s about getting rid of all the negative aspects of immigration and focusing on the beauty behind the word immigrant, because there is a lot more to it than just the political soundbites that we get on a daily basis. There’s beauty in it.”
The mural will be in progress through March and is open to anyone who would like to support, no art experience needed. The design is portable and searching for a permanent home. Makaryan has reached out to several locations in the county, but has yet to find one, as many public spaces entail a long permit process. She would like to see it at a private business that’s accessible to the public.
The “DREAMER” mural is being constructed with support from local organizations. Artstart, an educational arts nonprofit based in Santa Rosa, is helping Makaryan with the logistics of the mural. My American Dreams, another local organization, has provided donations to purchase supplies. Makaryan also gets help at school, from art teacher Dennis Miller, whom she calls, “awesome”. She said donations are still needed to keep the mural going, specifically for paint.
For more information on participating or donating, go to: socoimm.org/events.
Noticias y eventos desde la región vinícola del norte de California para la comunidad latina.
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