Portland in Color is a series dedicated to highlighting the work and everyday experiences of this city's artists of color.
In a town founded on racism, we have a lot of work to do. Portland is renown for its creativity but still lacks diversity and representation because work opportunities are often dependent on industry gatekeepers who don't prioritize intersectionality. In asking why companies aren't hiring and paying more artists of color, the response is often "there aren't any," "we don't know any," or none at all.
When we don't actively support and promote marginalized artists, we perpetuate the idea that POC don't have a place in the creative industry. We allow a limited lens to continue to dominate and define the world as we've come to know it.
This series is dedicated to Portland's artists of color who hear "Portland is so white" every damn day. As if we don't exist. As if we aren't fighting to take up space, to breathe in peace, to matter. As if we had a choice to choose art, when choosing art has been the only way to keep going. We see you, we hear you, and we're here to celebrate you.
Portland in Color | 001: Maya Vivas
Background: Afro Latinx
Medium of choice: Ceramic
Karaoke jam: "Are you gonna be my girl" by Jet
Tell us about one of your favorite Portland memories: For my birthday this year, my friends rented a house with a hot tub for the night and threw a huge surprise birthday party for me. I cried like a baby.
Please share a time it was difficult living in Portland: From experiencing the subtleties in institutionalized racism, to bold face sexism rearing its ugly head, navigating the world in a body like mine presents various sets of struggles, big and small, every single day.
Where do you get/how do you maintain inspiration in Portland: I am inspired, fueled and uplifted everyday by my community and chosen family. Also, I love my house plants.
How can the community support you? My SquareCash username is: $MayaVivas
Find Maya on www.mayavivas.com and @mayavivas for new work and upcoming shows.