On March 6, 2020, during Franklin’s First Friday Art Scene, local painter Damaris Nino will be exhibiting a new acrylic, ink and pastel piece at Franklin Road Apparel.
With its use of mixed media, rainbow of bright colors, interlaced shapes and continuous threads, the work is positive and inclusive while remaining abstract and open to interpretation. Its name is derived from the central message Nino hopes to convey: Immersion.
“This image is about the immersion of immigration in the U.S. and how many immigrants try to immerse themselves in a place out of a desire to better the life of their families,” Nino explained. “The immigrants bring so much rich and vibrant color to the United States and many times they are treated horribly because they look different.”
Nino’s artistic process in general and her take on this subject matter specifically are informed by her personal faith. It’s this belief that not only inspires her to create art in the first place, but more than likely led her to tackle such a divisive political issue with an image as uplifting as Immersion.
“My creation process is one that is inspired by Jesus,” Nino said. “I create works on issues that I have felt He has placed in my heart to speak up about. My process begins with reflection, prayer and some research and then I begin to create.”
Much of Nino’s work is created with expressive brush strokes in acrylic paint and ink. She also often utilizes graphite and pastels as textured elements. As seen in Immersion, many of her pieces incorporate bold colors and emphasize the use of lines.
“Each mark or organic shape represents clusters, stigmas, groups, journey, growth, vitality and Jesus moving in the midst of every situation,” Nino explains on her website. “We are all created with a purpose. Mine is to share the love of Jesus based on personal experience through immigration, a privileged society, being a woman and mother, having lost children and figuring out how to live a life after loss, etc. Which is translated onto canvas with the execution resulting in giving hope, peace and happiness and knowing that there will always be someone ready to love us.”
Ultimately, it’s difficult to step away from Immersion without feeling inspired, even if you’re not sure by what. It’s as if Nino’s spirit itself has been transferred to the canvas, imbuing it with a celebration of the colorful melting pot that outsiders and diverse perspectives create.
“Not every immigrant is here to cause harm or corruption. Their motives are indeed for a better life,” Nino concluded. “Which, isn’t that what everybody is striving for? A better life?”
Nino holds a BFA from Middle Tennessee State University. Her work has been exhibited throughout the Nashville area.
Franklin Road Apparel is located at 508 W. Main Street in Franklin.