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Favelas in the City

A teenager full of sensitivity. At the age of fifteen, Maria Fernanda Vogel is showing her feelings towards those in need, by performing a personal protest using what she loves the most: art and painting. This young lady with such a gracious face and penetrating stare already completed her first art exhibit where the topic was Favelas, referring to the poorly constructed homes of our Nicaragua, which in a very creative, strong and impacting way were placed on canvas for each of her paintings in an effort to capture the attention of her audience and transmit the desire to act upon this reality She is planning on donating a percentage of the sales of her paintings to charity. Get to know a little bit more about Maria Fernanda and her feelings, next.

SER: Tell us how you were introduced into the world of art and painting.

Maria Fernanda Vogel: It always interested me but a little more than two years ago I started taking classes with a painter named Alejandra Duque-Estrada and I started dedicating more time to it.

SER: What is your favorite painting technique, the one you use the most?

Maria Fernanda Vogel: I like to be open to anything, try different things, the more different they are, the more appealing they are to me. I like drip-painting and graffiti because they are very expressive.

SER: What inspires you?

M.F.V.: Human feelings, my life and that life of those around me. In some way, everything I see is inspiration depending on the optic that is used. Poverty and sadness inspire me because they are topics that have always appealed to me, which is why I decided to portray them in my pieces. I feel there is so much to say, especially in a country like Nicaragua where it’s so visible and why not use a medium like art that is very intense, strong and can say so much in order to raise awareness.

SER: From the world of painting, what artist do you admire?

M.F.V.: Andy Warhol with his pop art and Jackson Pollock with his drip-painting. They are both artists that are against being traditional and what people expect. Also because these artists have something important to say and don’t just paint because it’s pretty; they transmit a message in each piece.

I also admire my teacher Alejandra Duque-Estrada because she’s taught me so much and because I feel that her work speaks for itself; it says so much about her life.

SER: Of all the famous painting and sculpture, which is most appealing to you?

M.F.V.: I like Picasso’s paintings because of the way he expressed his pain and anguish, the way he manages to make the spectator feel discomfort. His paintings move me very deeply.

SER: What is your goal as an artist and where do you want to go? And on a personal level?

M.F.V.: Wherever God takes me. My dream is to continue painting all my life but I don’t like to think about limits because I like to keep my options open. The only thing I know is that I want to go the whole way and surpass my own goals.

Even though art is what interests me as a career, there has to be a balance in my life which means I can’t leave everything and just paint all the time. I think that time with my family, friends is very important. That is my plan on a personal level, order and balance between painting and family.

SER: What do you enjoying doing the most with your spare time?

M.F.V.: Being with my family and going out with my friends. I like to listen to music, use the computer and read. I also enjoy not doing anything and leave my routine behind.

SER: Tell us about your experience with your first individual exhibit. Give us the run down on how the exhibit came about and you feelings about it.

M.F.V.: Before my individual exhibit I had the opportunity of participating in a joint exhibit a year ago at Codice Gallery where Ms. Juanita Bermudez, the director, saw that my paintings got sold and told me she’d be interested in working with me later on. I continued to paint and when I got to 20 pieces I returned to the gallery, showed her my work and it was then that she suggested I do an individual exhibit. That was in January and in February we started organizing dates, guests and other details. I also had the support of Porfirio Garcia who is an art critic that helped me out with the design of the invitations to the event. The exhibit took place in March. It was nice to see all the people who had given me their support, who believed in me, who are interested in my work and who are always on top of what I’m going to do next.

SER: Why did you choose the Favelas theme for your exhibit? How is it that you are able to portray poverty, sadness

and desperation in your work?

M.F.V.: I’ve lived through all of those situations. I’ve always noticed them and I’ve always felt them. This reality is very appealing to me which is why I decided to combine it with the world of art, which I love. The idea was to promote something social, protest against this situation and say what’s going on, transmit the initiative of doing something about it and help if we see this poverty every day in Nicaragua.

SER: Of all your pieces, which were most appealing to you and which impacted you the most?

M.F.V.: They are all a small piece of me but Expressions in the City and Earth and Blood have a very special feeling even though they both portray the same sadness and the same pain but to me they are the strongest.

From her parents Lorena and Carlos Vogel... “ From a very young age, Maria Fernanda has been very creative. She loved to go to the bookstore to buy materials for arts and crafts as part of her play time. She’s always loved colors and art. She’s always been very mature without leaving her teenage world behind. She’s always had time for reality, for social work

and through her work she wanted to express her feelings and it is all backed up by actions because it’d be very easy to paint and not do anything about it. She will do something about it, she’ll do her social work, she does have a direct link with the needs of the people, if not it’d be pure hypocrisy.

We take no merit for any of this. She decided to paint and what to paint. Besides, from a young age she’s always had that sensibility towards others because we’ve introduced her to social work like a soup kitchen where we serve food to children. We feel blessed to have a daughter that has this gift.”

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