Colorful Art Exhibit Opens at NEIU – El Centro

Melissa Brand, Staff Writer


Traditional song and dance accompanied the art exhibit and brought a taste of Peruvian culture to the audience.
Photo by Melissa Brand.
Artwork by Elsa Anaya.
Photo by Melissa Brand.







Chicago Artist Elsa Anaya brought her Andean art exhibit, “Heritage … Ethnicity” to Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) – El Centro Campus.  Interim Director of NEIU – El Centro Maria Luna-Duarte opened the reception welcoming everyone to the campus. “Inner-city youth and the students that come to El Centro don’t have the opportunity to go to the museums, so this is a good partnership that we have had with several artists throughout the years,” Luna-Duarte said. “We have had this program for about 4 years in which we invite local artists to bring their art to our campus.”

Anaya, who goes by the artistic name of “Wari,” was born and raised in Peru. An avid artist since childhood, she tries to create a vivid snapshot of the Andean culture through her works.  “All my inspiration comes from the people from my country and the clothing that they wear. They wear very bright clothing because that’s their heritage,” Anaya said. “We come from the Incas. The Incas used to wear very bright colors and contrasts of colors, and that makes me inspired when I paint.”

Anaya got her artistic name from her parents. “Wari is a Quechuan word that means joyful,” Anaya said. “My father used to call my mother that and now I use it in honor of my parents.”  Anaya has been drawing her whole life and does most of her work in oil pastels. “I especially try to tell a story behind it,” Anaya said. “That’s why you will find a description by each painting.”

True to her Andean culture, the event also showcased authentic Peruvian food, Peruvian dancers in costumes styled after traditional clothing and exciting Andean music, as well as support and a visit from Nelson Ortiz, the Deputy Consulate General of Peru in Chicago.  The artwork will remain on exhibit in the lobby of NEIU – El Centro through Nov. 23, 2012.