7 Latino Artists You Should Know

Celebrate Latino artists from across the Americas

By Google Arts & Culture

Story by Suzanna Bobadilla

Frida and Diego with their pet monkey "Caimito del Guayabal" (1943) by Autor no identificadoMuseo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo

Latin American cultures share similarities, and many are also influenced by European, indigenous, and African traditions. With all of these dynamic sources of inspiration, many Latino artists remix their cultures in interesting and exciting ways. Scroll on to meet some iconic Latino/a/x artists who've left a lasting impression...

Altar Installation by Sandra Cisneros (2014/2014) by LVMSmithsonian's National Museum of the American Latino

1. Sandra Cisneros

Sandra Cisneros is a highly regarded Latino novelist in the United States who is best known for her novel The House on Mango Street. In her work, Sandra Cisneros champions Mexican-American women who live across and between national cultures.

In this Day of the Dead altar, Sandra Cisneros explores the themes of family, spirituality, and love. She combines very recognizable cultural symbols like the Virgin de Guadalupe with very personal objects, like family photos of her deceased loved ones.

Miguel Piñero - Seeking the Cause - YouTubeNuyorican Poets Cafe

2. Miguel Piñero

Miguel Piñero was a pioneer in spoken word poetry, a form that combines poetry, theater, and music. In 1973, Piñero helped to create the Nuyorican Poets Café in New York City's Lower East Side. The Café was a home for expressive art that captured what life was like for Puerto Ricans in the city.

You can see all the key elements of spoken word poetry in this video, including emphatic intonation, rhythmic delivery, and even some dance-like movement.

Julia de Burgos (1981) by Carlos IrizarryMuseo de Arte de Puerto Rico

3. Julia de Burgos

Julia de Burgos was a Puerto Rican poet and activist who fought for the rights of Puerto Ricans, women, and Afro-Caribbean writers. She was a very bright student, talented teacher, and passionate advocate. Her writing took off in the 1930s, addressing issues of social justice and feminism.

"I am life, I am strength, I am woman” - Julia de Burgos

Celia Cruz - Hispanic Heritage Awards 1998 (1998)Hispanic Heritage Foundation

4. Celia Cruz

Celia Cruz was born in Cuba in 1925, and became known as the Queen of Salsa. Her unique voice, expressive singing, and bold style made her recognizable around the world, and helped her win several international music awards. Celia Cruz was a music ambassador, bringing Latin Music to new US Audiences.

El presidente (1997) by Fernando BoteroMuseo Botero, Bogotá

6. Fernando Botero

Fernando Botero, born in Medellín, Colombia, is famous for his signature style known as “Boterismo.” His work interprets human and natural figures in an almost bloated, oversized manner. This style often satirizes the powerful and those in authority, as seen in this work, “El presidente,” or “The President.”

I, Traditional women’s costume, district of Acopía, province of Acomayo, Cusco, Peru 2007 (Apr-13) by Mario TestinoMATE — Museo Mario Testino

7. Mario Testino

Known for his fashion and portrait photography in the world’s top magazines, Mario Testino was originally born in Lima, Peru. As a young man, he traveled to London to study photography and to begin his prolific photography career. However, he remained continually inspired by his Latin-American childhood. In 2012, he opened an art center called MATE, to give back to Peruvian arts and culture. In this photograph from their collection, Mario Testino captures the deep tradition and aesthetic beauty of indigenous Peruvian textiles.

Continue your voyage into the Latino Heritage and Culture project here.

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