Rancho Mirage–based artist Sofia Enriquez has begun a new series of paintings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In this time of crisis,” says Sofia Enriquez, “there are a lot of harsh realities I have had to face head-on.” The Rancho Mirage–based artist known for her distinctive figurative paintings, fashions, and large-scale installations (she featured at last year’s Coachella festival) is responding to the times in a new series of paintings — and, in the process, has earned $500 to Keep Art Alive, a grant from the California Desert Arts Council (CDAC) offering relief to working visual and performing artists whose livelihood has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To win the award, Enriquez entered one of the paintings from the new series. It has three main components: a grieving woman, a new age grim reaper, and a snake in its brand new raw skin. “The [green and blue] colors of the background show the containment of the natural cycles of life, death, and rebirth (transformation) on Earth,” she explains. “This pandemic is making what I thought were ‘normal’ aspects of my life run even quicker through these cycles and has changed my perspective of what is important.
“In contrast to the paintings I’ve created in the past, this one doesn’t have any particular identity, distinct features of one character. Instead, it focuses on the rough idea of what life deals with by using a composition of blunt conceptual icons. It’s tough and colorful, and still gives viewers an opportunity to project their own stories of how these cycles have affected their life.”
CDAC and affiliate La Quinta Arts Foundation established a $50,000 Keep Art Alive fund to award grants to Coachella Valley artists and arts organizations who create thoughtful, inspiring, and relevant works responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Enriquez’s work, which typically references her Mexican-American culture and intercultural identity, is recognizable for her iconic faces, which she hopes will encourage self-awareness and being present by confronting artwork face to face. The faces, typography, and paisley designs in her work take inspiration from traditional Roman Catholic portraiture, American 1960s pop art, and vintage Mexican folk art. Her mural installations include public and private spaces in Palm Springs, Cathedral City, and Coachella.
Follow Sofia Enriquez on Instagram at @SofiaEnriquez and visit sofiaenriquez.com