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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Mary Magdalene Celebration: 10 Years of Praising Mary Magdalene Through Image and Song

Mary Magdalene's Love by Tanya Torres, Oil on Canvas, 10" x 8", 2017.
Just finished yesterday... as you can see, it is on my work table.

This is my new Mary Magdalene, finished yesterday, when I was finally able to sit down to paint after months traveling in Spain, Italy and Morocco. Her hair is turning white. Which is how I feel after all the traveling, which was wonderful, and also challenging. It was a little painful to see so much art and so much beauty without a studio or a place to stop and think, and make. But that was part of the reason to leave New York for a little while. Disconnect and start over. 

I am starting over, in a way, and choosing to keep those projects, actions and groups the person I am now still feels connected to. And after 10 years there is one thing I do that definitely stays: my work with the Magdalene. 

Before leaving I felt overwhelmed, and even though I had a great place to celebrate Mary Magdalene this year, I felt weak, and tired. I had no energy or will to do anything. Just planning the trip was an immense effort. It was truly overwhelming. And I tried to cancel the event when I noticed that Raquel was overwhelmed, too.

But then I couldn't cancel. It didn't feel right to reject the gifts I had been already given. A theater for the performances. A wall for the exhibition. Help. Support from people who have been to the Celebration and loved it. I persuaded myself to do it smaller. And settled on the exhibition and the full play Mandala: Stories of the Net and the Sea, because Xiomara Evans and Marni Rice had expressed their with to present it in my neighborhood. And I felt a little relieved.

Then, I left and started improving. I felt really tired walking all day, going from monument to museum, listening and learning, getting lost and finding the road once again. Metaphor and reality. But I also felt the need to come back to work, and it became more and more present as I traveled. 

By the end of the two months, I knew I needed to revive the full event, and as soon as I got back, reconnected with Johanna, the leader of the Red Tent, and with my creative partner in all Magdalene endeavors, Raquel Z. Rivera. 

How did I persuade Raquel to come? I said we'll do it like the first time. And then she realized it would be a full decade since that first time, when we sang her songs without musicians, in a circle, just our hearts making music. I have dreamed of this for a long time. 

I said: 
Dos meses es un largo tiempo. Pero me sirvieron para despejarme, caminar, poner muchas cosas nuevas en la cabeza y regresar con la hora europea, lo que quiere decir que me levanto a las 6 de la mañana sin problemas. ¡Eso es lo mejor de todo! 
Poco a poco he ido retomando los proyectos dejados a medias y terminando lo que dejé a punto de terminar. Y... la Celebración MM. 
A pesar de que "cancelé" realmente no cancelé. Después me dije, tenemos un espacio gratis y muy bueno para el día de la Magdalena y Xiomara y Marni quieren hacer la obra, así que eso va. La exhibición también va, aunque todavía no he escogido a todas las artistas. 
Y... tengo una propuesta para ti. ¿Estarías dispuesta a venir por el fin de semana o por el día sábado? Sí, así de cortito... para que no tengas que dejar nada. 
Esta es la idea: Después de la obra, con un grupo íntimo de gente que se sepa las canciones, (aunque no puedo garantizar lo de íntimo), cantamos y prendemos las velas. Y tú guías. Sin músicos, aunque Leticia tiene acceso a músicos si lo deseas. Nada de show, una ceremonia, una ofrenda. 
Montamos un altar.Corazón hace la danza de apertura.7 Canciones, una a una.Prendemos las velas con cada canción.Palmeamos y sonreímos.y quién sabe, agujita y su combo pueden tocar la última canción y bailamos para cerrar.
Si estás dispuesta, te envío el pasaje y te quedas aquí (o te vas el mismo día, o te quedas un mes, jajaja, como tú quieras...) 
Lets set up an altar, with candles, lets invite the people who know the songs and offered to sing last year, lets print copies of the songs, I will send you the plan ticket and we'll do it like the first time. 

Everyone accepted my invitation to come back to do the full event:

The Red Tent: Women come together to celebrate menstruation, welcome girls into the women's circle, and say aloud their mothers and grandmother's names. Hosted by Johanna Cabrera.

The Magdalene Fair: Artists, artisans and authors will exhibit their creations for sale during the entire event. Come see the crafts, books, and other Mary Magdalene inspired creations as well as the personal creations of each participant.

21 Magdalenes: An art exhibition of 21 paintings in honor of Mary Magdalene. 

Why Mary Magdalene: A colloquium in which we come together to talk about Mary Magdalene and what brought us to her. 

Mandala: Stories of the Net and the Sea: The full play by Xiomara Evans and Marni Rice

A feast: Everyone is invited to bring a dish or drink to share. Offerings are accepted all day. Lets make a great table of beautiful food to share!

The Ceremony: The event will culminate with the singing of the 7 Songs of Praise for Mary Magdalene. The ceremony begins with an opening dance by Corazón Tierra, who has created this piece especially for this ceremony. Raquel will sing each song. You are invited to join the singing by contacting me so I can send you the songs. Raquel will sing the songs like the first time we sang. Everyone is invited to join with voice, instrument or palms. I hope Alexandra, the wonderful bomba dancer, will interject a dance as we continue the songs. I will light a candle at the Magdalene Altar as we sing each song. With the last song, everybody dances!

And yesterday I finished the piece above, the Mary Magdalene I have been working on for about a year and with is the image for this year's invitation and altarpiece. That was the signal to start letting people know we will be celebrating 10 years!

I am filled with joy and expectation. I am filled with the love of the Magdalene. I am filled with love for my friends and partners in this wonderful 10 year and beyond adventure.  I am full, and I hope you will join us to share the love!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Staring at Midday. Culminating at 8:00 p.m. El Barrio Art Space Black Box Theater and Lower level, 99th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. Hosted by La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriqueña and El Barrio Art Space. I will personally put your name on a seat if you let me know you want to come. Free. Donations accepted to support the artists, but not required. 

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Hoy, Artista: Travel Begins



My long trip begins tomorrow. My husband and I are taking off for 2 full months. Our son is grown. Our building is functioning, for now. Our families are o.k., for now. Our health is fine, for now. Now, there is a window, and we are jumping out of it before life catches up to us again. It's a gift for many years of building a life.

And it is also an opportunity, a relief. A chance for inspiration. An opening for the self to release and inspire. A breath after a long journey.

I leave with the hope of emptying my being of all that I no longer need. And with the wish of filling my mind and my soul with something new. A new feeling, a new idea, a new hope, a new vision.

Too much hope for one little trip, even if it is 2 months long!

We begin in Barcelona. Will be posting.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Hoy artista: A New Year

Hand-painted jewelry by Tanya Torres (2016)

The year began with a warning: Stop!

I had not been sick in ages. Except for a day of allergy once in a while when I am very tired or stressed. But as the New Year approached, I felt an inner compulsion to plan, to get on top of things and to get ready. And then I got so sick I've been in bed for a couple of days and I lost my voice almost completely.

With my intellectual mind, I know it is a virus I caught at one of the many events and parties I reluctantly went to at the end of 2016. With my magical mind I feel that I am saying something to myself.

The past year was good, at least if I look at it in terms of checkmarks.

I did all the usual events.

I created a great event, the Mary Magdalene Celebration.

I created a fashion line.

I published a book.

I participated in several exhibitions.

I opened a store, a real life store!

I helped create a Saturday program at the Puerto Rican Cultural Heritage House.

I helped my friend create websites and exhibitions and realize dreams.

I'm sure there's more. But even though I feel these have been great accomplishments and I have enjoyed them, I need to stop the frenzy. Because that is how that voice inside my head sounds, as if I am running out of time. There's always this fear that if I don't do enough and I don't use my time wisely then when I die I won't have finished my mission. It's irrational, but always there. And it needs to stop, because missions are not accomplished with busywork but with great work, and great work requires uninterrupted thought and concentration. And because I waste a lot of time not having a clear head!

In order to get my mind working within that wavelength...

I have been planning a long trip, a time free of the commitments of the world I live in right now.

A long trip. A trip to think, forget, and to remember, to reconstruct.

So that's what I am doing this year, even if it will not be as long as I wanted it to be, or the exact trip I wanted.

The trip I wanted sounds really boring to most people. I wanted to rent a house in Albuquerque, and set up a studio in a room of the house, and just work, go for walks with Raquel, go to Sunday dinner at Linda's house, and at the end of 6 months, find myself wanting to come back to NYC with my mind renewed and my objectives and desires clear. My worst fear was that I would not want to come back.

But since I am not going by myself, I will have to compromise and go to Spain for 2 months and just travel around old cities, eat all kinds of delicious foods, draw, take photos, and write, which is something I have not been able to do lately since my mind is in "shutdown" most of the time and that's why I need a trip. (This blog post is a sort of "permission to write post," to get me started...)

That trip is probably going to be from March until May. On March 4th, I have an event with Xiomara Evans and Marni Rice at La Maison d'Art. Then we leave! After that, back to NYC, where I have a date set for this year's Mary Magdalene Celebration on July 22 at PS 109/El Barrio Art Space and La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriqueña.

After that, I don't know. I hope the trip will help me decide what changes I need to make, what to keep and what to let go.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

My Fashion Show: This Should Put a Smile on Your Face :)




All I can say is: It was fun!

We had a full house for the one day exhibition by the Seven Women in Movement, a group of women artists that I am part of and that was formed with the intention of presenting work about the current situation of Puerto Rico. My political art days are long over, so the pieces I am working on for the show in 2018 have more to do with wishes of protection, but in the meantime we are doing exhibitions with work we already have done and this was the second one.

Creating the fashion designs was one of my most exciting projects of 2016 since, for a long time, I had been wishing to create something like this, but had not found a way. When I received the VIDA  invitation I got to work right away and it was one of those graceful and magical moment of flow. I am very happy with the products. My only wish is that VIDA could accelerate the production process, since it takes almost 2 months for the pieces to arrive. Although I have to say: they are worth it.

I hope the fashion show makes you smile!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Did you see my fashion designs?

Here is my shop at VIDA, where you can see all the Spirit of the Forest fashions. 

Black Friday only: 40% off! 

Note: They take a long time to arrive, they may not get to you on time for Christmas. 
Also, I have samples to see and try. Come by if you are in NYC and visit