Marina Regina is a Tāmaki Makaurau-based creative specialising in gouache painting. The self-taught artist speaks with Womenclan on celebrating culture and vulnerability with paint.
Can you share a little about who you are?
I’m 25, a feminist and a small dog lover. I was born in the State of Mexico, and when I was three my family left the big city and moved to Cancun on the Caribbean side of Mexico. I grew up there with my younger sister and parents discovering beaches and watching the town grow. I was studying sustainable tourism when I met my boyfriend in 2017, and we decided to move together to Aotearoa at the end of 2020. If I had the chance I would have studied art, but that didn't stop me from learning with the resources I had. I joined art history, drawing and pottery classes in my town, and I taught myself embroidery and gouache painting.
What made you start painting here?
When I arrived in Aotearoa I knew I wanted to create something. I thought about making ceramics first, but it wasn’t as accessible as I thought it would be. One day it just came to me that I should learn to paint; I did my research and decided I’d try gouache as I liked its opaque finish. I bought my first paint tubes, watched some videos on Youtube and started practicing. I quickly realised (without planning or forcing it) that I was painting things that reminded me of my country, its culture and my life there. It was a way to express myself, to share my experience of being far away from home and family. I like to think that by showing vulnerability in my work, I’m creating a safe space for myself and anyone else who might be going through a similar situation. Painting is my way to show the world – and also remind myself – who I am and where I come from.
Do you remember creating art growing up?
I don't remember doing much art as a child, but I grew up in my grandmother’s house watching my Aunt Hilda making all sorts of crafts – from crochet, knitting, doll-making and painting, to anything else you can imagine. I remember painting a bisque pottery piece made with her help when I was around three. She held my hand while I was holding the brush, and we painted the piece together. My aunty had a big influence on my passion for creating things and living a...
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