Art and artistry often connects with people where they are and for Nivia Bejarano, the way her art engages others has been a revelation even to herself. The Columbian-Lebanese, self-taught artist brings her tenacity to her local Fort Lauderdale neighbourhood as a teacher all over Broward County for underprivileged children and adults.
The founder and creator of WildHippie has had her work featured in a slew of places, and her passion for creation is evident in each of her pieces. One particular piece that really pierces and comes off the canvas is Bejarano’s ‘Off With This Head’, an acrylic piece that projects the history of women that have suffered injustices at the hands of men who have never been held accountable for their actions. Naturally, the conversation veered towards Nivia’s perspective on the times we live in and how it affects her artistry.
Off with His Head, acrylic on canvas by Nivia Bejarano
How does art reflect our times?
Art in itself is a reflection. Art is manifested through feeling, environment and current circumstances. You could say art can be times identity.
Bejarano exerts most of her spiritual energy in the other Hollywood – Florida to be exact. It is here where she delivers passion throughout her community in a variety of ways. Whether teaching art classes at various charity events for underprivileged children and adults or working at Zero Empty Spaces studio, Nivia is changing the world through her art and the gift of connection.
What is the impact you hope to achieve by working with underprivileged children and adults?
Children are our future. Without them our world will go nowhere. By most standards underprivileged children don’t have the ability to have a “normal” childhood. They are in situations where they are incapable of developing emotionally and physically, making it extremely difficult to produce necessary coping and social skills therefore contributes to depression and low self-esteem. Confidence was something I struggled with growing up and still do today due to my poor upbringing. Not only will giving to art charities help children learn how to express themselves in a more constructive manner, these skills will also affect society to positively grow and give kids the example of a better future.
Looking at one of Nivia’s pieces is akin to looking inside the soul of a woman releasing her passion into the ether. Her story lies bare on the canvas, channelled by the perfect imperfection of her life that permeates behind each stroke. Inspired by the drive and spirit of her mother, Nivia often places women at the forefront of her works. She weaves the themes of eroticism and tragedy, juxtaposed to divinity and death – all of them empowering images that express not only her story, but the story of many women.
Expressing her feelings through her artwork is a path that Bejarano chose that focuses on survival of the spirit and humanity in its rawest of forms. She has been outspoken about drug addiction that impacted her family and her life in foster care, integral parts of her life history that are reflected in her singular style of expressionism.
How important are personal relationships in your work?
Personal relationships are the most important. If I can make a connection with people through my art and create a dialogue with an individual and myself it satisfies my sense of fulfilment.
Artists all over the world are being affected by the global pandemic as performances and appearances have come to a standstill for many. Even so, most artists believe there is a reasoning and catharsis through the chaos, with Nivia being no different...
What do you think will be the biggest change with your work pre-COVID19 and post-COVID19?
This pandemic has created a pause if you will of social interaction. In order to change loneliness to enriching solitude I try to communicate through my art as a way of compensation. Creating a connection through my art at a time where a majority of people feel the most alone means the world to me.
Fans of Bejarano’s art can always expect to be taken off-kilter, and her future works are destined to be a reflection of how she surveys the universe and extols its virtues through the canvas.
What’s next for you?
I’d like to answer this with one of my favourite quotes: “I’m a leaf in the wind!”
You can also find Nivia Bejarano’s work at the Circa hotel, The Wynwood Walls & The Hidden Garden on Las Olas Blvd in Fort Lauderdale. She is also featured online @RAW Artists and Conception Art group. Follow her on social media at the links below: