I create art for love, peace and joy because I wholeheartedly believe that all human beings need art and creativity in our lives as a way to more fully express and enjoy our humanity. Whether it is in the form of appreciating a work of art and experiencing what it evokes, or in the process of creating with mind, heart and hands, we all need a space of joy and fulfillment, healing and renewal. Art, in any form, provides that space.
Tanya Torres is an artist, writer and educator living and working in New York City and Puerto Rico, where she grew up. She was born in New York City and came back to live in there at age 15.
After completing a B.A. in Art Education at the City College of New York, she was offered a scholarship to pursue an M.F.A. (Printmaking with a minor in Painting) at the same institution.
In 2000, she created the artistic space Mixta Gallery in El Barrio, East Harlem, the community where she has lived since 1997.
Her artwork has been presented at the United Nations Organization, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies Library, the Museum of the 19th Century Dominican Family in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), the Porta Coeli Museum of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture), and the Prague Congress Centre in the Czech Republic, among many other cultural institutions.
She has published the handmade poetry books Caguana (1994), Laberinto (1995), Bestiario mío (2001), I Can Certainly Survive (2002), Cuerpo de batalla/Battle Body (2004), and Sagrario (Shrine) (2007). In 2010, she published a handmade, handwritten edition of the book Canción de la Magdalena with a song by Raquel Z. Rivera. In August 2011, she completed the edition of 50 miniature books titled Destellos de Sofía, a book of mystical poetry, and in 2014, she also published a pendant miniature book edition with the English translation, titled Sophia's Light. Other books with her autobiographical writing are Cuerpo de paz: Repercusiones de la batalla (Peace Body: The Aftermath of the Battle) (2007) about life after cancer, and Painting Mary Magdalene, Little Miracles Along the Creative Path (2016.)
In 2002, El Diario/La Prensa selected her as one of the 50 Women of the Year. In 2003, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College (NY) invited her to be part of the project “Puerto Rican Writers: History and Context”, which provides a space in the general archive to preserve and share her documents.
She has read stories for children at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and taken her projects and exhibitions to places such as Batey Palmarejo in Dominican Republic and Comunidades Especiales in Puerto Rico.
From 2007-2010, she was Artist-in-Residence at P.S. 57 in East Harlem, New York City, where she created 3 mosaic murals and 6 poetry murals. She also installed a series of digital paintings commissioned by the East Harlem Bilingual Head Start and inspired by its mission to create healthy eating habits in young children and their families. The head start also commissioned and houses several of her mosaics.
In 2012, her exhibition Heaven and Earth traveled to Prague and was exhibited at the Prague Congress Centre.
Tanya writes the blog and website Magdalene.org, about her journey painting Mary Magdalene, the character of Christian Mythology that has inspired her work since 2005. She also organizes the Mary Magdalene Celebration, an event that she has taken in different forms to Puerto Rico, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and throughout New York City, and that celebrates Mary Magdalene in art, song and dance.
Tanya’s recent art series, Spirit of the Forest, imagines the spirits of the Taino ancestors in the rain forests of Puerto Rico, and explores the symbiotic relationship between human, flora and fauna.
Tanya works from her studio in the same neighborhood where she lives in NYC, and travels with her art wherever she is invited. Her studio-house in Puerto Rico is a work in progress where she hopes to welcome creative souls who wish to embrace the creative journey accompanied by her.
Tanya Torres’ artwork celebrates life and nature.
Some other things:
Former Guide for angelesymilagros.about.com
Contributing writer for EmptyEasel.com
Contributing writer and illustrator for SageWoman Magazine (Winter 2012-Crafty Goddess)