Lina Montoya Columbian Artist from Staten Island 

Love, art and color to NY

Colombian artist Lina Montoya AKA Eme Ele puts effort, energy and creativity to highlight the unexplored beauty and human–material 

Love, art and color to NY Exhibition Lina Montoya in Staten Island. provided

BY: CARMEN MOLINA TAMACAS

JULY 20, 2016

Mrs. Sonia Muñoz worked for many years in one of the few Colombian restaurants in Connecticut. For eight offered to bring his culinary skill to Staten Island, to which he agreed, also attracting the artistic talent of his daughter. Lina Montoya AKA Ele Eme (initial) recognizes that when I finally had the opportunity to move, did so without prejudice, although the change was her strong since, first, is a native of Medellin and now lives on an island, which it is disparaged sometimes even by its own inhabitants.

In 2013 only he had three years living in Staten Island when Hurricane Sandy vented his fury, killing 23 people and destroying hundreds of homes and businesses. Despite all the efforts of reconstruction material, Montoya believes Staten Island “needs more love” and missing “sense of belonging”. She offers her heart and graphic art to fill that void.

The beautiful island

Montoya carried out several projects in which realizes his dream of making public art installations, murals, videos, workshops with children and students and festivals. The first, “Butterflies Yellow” is part of the series called La Isla Bonita, “a metaphorical exploration through music and literature, representing the migratory experiences.”

The installation was executed in June held in 2014 Richmond Terrace, between Jewett Avenue and Rector Street; It involves the placement of more than 18,000 butterflies made bright canvas placed in a metal mesh. Lovers of literature will recognize the related Mauricio Babilonia symbolism, one of the characters of One Hundred Years of Solitude, one of the most universal works of Gabriel García Márquez, but the artist is also linked to migration, given its own history family and personal.

Lina Montoya was born and raised in Medellin, Colombia. He moved to Staten Island in 2010. This image appears next to the mural “Love, Life and Freedom” ./ courtesy Angie VasquezLina Montoya was born and raised in Medellin, Colombia. He moved to Staten Island in 2010. This image appears next to the mural “Love, Life and Freedom” ./ courtesy Angie Vasquez

Another batch of yellow butterflies were placed at Wagner College, with the help of students from the public school number 20. Also, installation, Man In The Mirror, is inspired by the song of Michael Jackson that calls for social justice based one and expanding it to others. With students and community members, the artist placed a lot of flowers made from recycled which apropos the Festival of Flowers in Medellín materials. The flowers were also recycled to beautify the school Richard Hungerford.

The “Niagara Bike Ride” installation, inspired by a song by Dominican Juan Luis Guerra alluding to the difficult and almost impossible to overcome moments, is the rescue of a bicycle, which was tied to a mesh in which they were placed tens plastic flowers, created by Tom Mazzone.

Montoya projects usually are accompanied not only by the collaboration of students and community members, but teachers who teach and explain the context and the historical, social, economic and environmental relations of the works of street art.

Most of its Latino students, children of immigrants, who “are neither here nor there,” says Montoya. “What I can represent for them it includes a contact with their own culture and also try to teach that dreams come true, like mine, which is to make public art,” he added.

Among his recent forays are solo exhibition of “MariPAZos” during the Week of Remembrance and Solidarity with Victims of Armed Conflict at the Consulate of Colombia, as well as exposure of a series of photographs as part of the Working Waterfront Folklife scholarship. During the second weekend of July it held the second edition of the festival La Isla Bonita, in Faber Park, which was attended by several musicians and attendees had the opportunity to participate in sports and artistic activities.