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Rozalia Hernandez-Singh depicts female pride with “Our Beauty in Strength”

Rozalia Hernandez-Singh is one of the five female artists who was hired by the Kinnickinnic Avenue BID to paint a large-scale mural along Bay View’s main retail corridor, with a work titled “Our Beauty in Strength.”

The “Street Canvas” project is part of an overall enhancement initiative long the main street of the Southside artery, once the most frequently traveled road connecting Milwaukee and Chicago. The five commercial buildings selected along the mile-long stretch of Kinnickinnic Avenue, or simply KK as the street is commonly known, are as architecturally diverse as the area is culturally.

Nova Czarnecki, Jenny Jo Kristan, Dena Nord, Jenny Anderson, and Rozalia Hernandez-Singh are the all-female roster of artists and unifying theme for the new collection of public art in Bay View.

Over the installation period, from May 22 to June 9, the Milwaukee Independent photo documented the mural painting process of each artist. Those images are included with this short Q&A, to showcase and share a personal insight into this ambitious project that adds to the growing momentum of establishing Milwaukee as an art destination.

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Q&A with Rozalia Hernandez-Singh

Our Beauty in Strength

Q: In your youth, who or what inspired you to be an artist, and what led you on the path to paint outdoor murals?

A: I had several influences. My father and my grandmother both had the strongest influence on me. My father was very hard on me, he was a great teacher but many times expected perfection. We’d have a crew helping him paint on mural projects. He would make me do paint strokes over and over until it was just right. That requirement was only for me. I started working summer jobs every year from the age of 13. Many of those summers I’d work with my father on murals both indoor and outdoor. My paternal grandmother was a very artistic woman. She was a dancer, loved music, literature, performing, everything art. She’d take me to the orchestra, ballet and dance performances, to music festivals, she taught me to love art, she was my greatest role model.

Q: What was the idea behind your Bay View mural, and what do you hope the public experiences when seeing it?

A: My idea was to create an image of a strong woman. All the woman I know were very strong, fierce woman. I’m building my family tree and I’m amazed by the stories. The woman in our family worked very hard through some very difficult times. They kept the family safe and healthy. Woman have a strong intuition, with that intuition they become our protectors. I hope when the public sees my mural, they think of strength and relate it to a strong woman in their life. But, if they don’t think that deep, at least they can appreciate its beauty. I’ve already heard comments from people walking by. Its all positive and encouraging.

Q: What would you say to encourage a disadvantaged young girl who dreams of being an artist but lacks the opportunity?

A: I work with many inner city schools, some of the kids don’t have many opportunities or get to explore or have experiences beyond their community. I encourage the kids to continue to create art. If a young girl dreams of being an artist, I’d explain to her the importance of having a creative outlet as a form of expression, and therapy. So I’d encourage her to never stop. Then I would tell her of the many programs that are available to her. Talk to your teacher, parents, the principal and ask to be a part of some of those programs. There are so many scholarships available that can put her in those programs. A lot of kids are involved in the Boys and Girls Club. I’d encourage her to make her love for art known to representatives from neighborhood community centers and they will guide her. I’d let her know how to contact me and keep me updated.

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About The Author

Lee Matz

Former Creative Director and Photojournalist for the Milwaukee Business Journal, Lee brings his years of international experience as a foreign correspondent in Asia and Europe, with a background in publishing, advertising, and design, to the Milwaukee Independent. His list of awards include three consecutive top honors from the Milwaukee Press Club. Lee proudly uses MCTS as his exclusive mode of transportation, other than walking, for all the news stories he reports about in Milwaukee.

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