By Maria Leon
Phoenix (USA), (EFE).- Of Mexican and Native American origins, “La Morena”, the artist chosen to design the art of the Super Bowl 2023, including the tickets and a huge mural in Phoenix (Arizona), She tells EFE that she felt as if she were going to play the American football final when they called her up.
Lucinda Hinojos, her given name, is honored to be “the first Chicana and aboriginal woman” to design these works for the biggest American sporting event, which will face the teams of the National Football League (NFL) on February 12. ) Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs, in Glendale, 14 kilometers (9 miles) from downtown Phoenix (Arizona).
«When they announced to me that I was selected, I could not believe it. It was a great emotion for me, many feelings at the same time. I couldn’t hold back the tears, I felt like I had been selected to play with an NFL team,” recalled the Mexican-American.
The artist works against time to finish on February 8 “the largest mural ever done for a Super Bowl” in downtown Phoenix.
Born and raised in Phoenix, Hinojos embodies the spirit and history of that city, noted the NFL, which highlighted “her identity and unmatched expertise in designing complex and iconic art that the NFL will proudly display throughout Super Bowl LVII.”
The selection of the muralist to paint this 9,500 square foot (882 square meter) mural is a great recognition for a woman who has had to overcome depression and domestic violence.
The work, an adaptation of the ticket image, pays tribute to aboriginal peoples with various allusions such as an Aztec dancer, and to nature, with the mountains and cacti of the Arizona desert.
The mural includes the Vince Lombardi trophy (an American football ball on a pedestal that is delivered to the champion), which also reflects the White Tank Mountains, which can be seen from the Arizona Cardinals stadium, this year’s headquarters of the grand finale
For “La Morena” it was of the utmost importance that the image had symbols that represent both cultures.
“This mural is a message that the Latino-indigenous community is present in Arizona, in this country,” said the Mexican-American during an interview on the roof of the building where she is painting the mural.
Paint instead of drugs
She said that art came into her life in 2011 when she began painting as “therapeutic” relief from the emotional problems she faced as a single mother of three, and as an alternative to medication.
«I do not paint for fame or money; I do it because it helps me. It helps me connect with my ancestors and I want people to have that same feeling when they see my murals, that they receive the same medicine,” Hinojos said.
As a great coincidence of life, the wall where she is currently painting the mural for the NFL along with other native artists is the same one for which in 2015 she was hired to do her first mural.
Due to lack of budget and other problems related to discrimination in times of anti-immigrant policies, that project was canceled and only the image of two hummingbirds remained, the same ones that are now part of the mural for the Super Bowl and that seem to have been there all this time. they were waiting for her
The artist says she is convinced the mural was canceled because the central issue was immigration.
He assured that his path has not been easy, but that he has managed to overcome everything thanks to his children, whom he describes as the “fire of his life.”
He recalled his first big project in 2017 in Rochester, New York, where he painted a mural that quickly went viral, and in 2018 he launched “Colors of La Comunidad,” an incubator for “artivism,” where artists can showcase their activism through through art.
Since then he has worked on other murals in Arizona, including one dedicated to the movement of young undocumented immigrants known as “dreamers.”
“There is a lot of pain among communities of color. Art is a way to heal this pain and connect with my ancestors,” she said.
He stressed that people of color always have to work harder and overcome more obstacles, “sometimes up to three times as much.” However, she is convinced that, one way or another, “they can be overcome.”
“The NFL is a great platform. I believe that it can help us to make social and cultural changes,” said the artist.
He stressed that he sought to cooperate with the League to be able to publicize the work of people of color, and he hopes that when people see his mural they will appreciate the creativity and genius of the Latino and Native American community, and “that it will be an awakening for the dialogue and recognition.