“Later, when I was in middle and high school, she picked me up after cleaning houses all day, and I remember how tired she always was. I could see the pain in her whole body, but especially in her hands. Her hands were strong but so fragile at the same time. The drawings I did for the 2015 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards were based on my mother. She was the closest person to me, and I saw her weariness every day. No matter how tired she was, though, she still cooked dinner and ran the household, volunteered on several boards and worked as a community organizer. My mom represents so many women who have sacrificed for their families, especially those who have emigrated from other countries. Their work is often behind the scenes, hidden, and I wanted to bring it out and highlight such tremendous strength and tenacity.
"I’m working on a double major at Rhodes now, Art and Urban Studies. I’m passionate about using my voice and my art to address social justice issues, particularly those of immigrants.”
- 98.4 New Mix FM: Aylen Mercado Wins National Art Award
Bio from the Just City's SeekJustice art show:
Aylen Mercado was born in Argentina in 1997. Mercado works predominantly in digital photography as a freelance photographer for local non-profit organizations. Her background in darkroom photography influenced her technique in her drawings of white medium on black surfaces. Mercado utilizes creativity as a tool for social change. She incorporates her art in her collaborative work across social justice movements to raise awareness of oppression, inequalities and injustice.
She has had her work featured in New York at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, and in Washington, DC at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building and the U.S. Capitol. Her work has recently been selected for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards' Art.Write.Now.Tour 2015-16, a national traveling exhibition curated, produced, and presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Mercado's work will be featured in St. Petersburg, FL, Indianapolis, IN, Vermillion, SD, and Las Vegas, NV.
She is a Clarence Day Scholar at Rhodes College majoring in Urban Studies and Art. She lives in, works in, and loves Memphis.