New Orleans, LA, USA
Lillian Aguinaga is a Peruvian - American contemporary figurative painter based in New Orleans, LA. Lillian studied at the University of Memphis until relocating to Lafayette, LA, where she received a BFA in Painting from University of Louisiana - Lafayette in 2010. Her Peruvian influences combined with being raised by a single mother in the Southern United States gives Lillian a unique perspective on culture and identity. Lillian’s striking work places focus on fear of the unknown, the pursuit of belonging and individuality, as well as perseverance in the face of great uncertainty. In her latest painting series, 'Hidden in Plain Sight,’ Lillian delves into the human response to grief and mortality. Grief can be the result of a relationship ending, a missed opportunity, or the revocation of fundamental rights. Through self-reflection and observation of others, she examines the transcendence of the self when we overcome our fears, embrace the unknown, and persevere. This series has become an integral part of Lillian’s grieving and healing process. Her own experiences with hardships as well as the tenacity of the strong, powerful women in her life have an immense impact on her work. The intense color schemes capture the spirit of her subjects and evoke the sensation of stillness in chaos for the audience. Her command of light and shadow, influenced by color and lighting effects in cinematography, leave her audience with a sense of mystery and possibility. Lillian also invests fervently in her community. She curates group shows and art markets that provide a space for other community artists, and she organizes fundraisers for organizations that are actively fighting for equality and justice within art and education.
They say what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. I think that’s bullshit. Our light can be dimmed and concealed by so much. Fortunately, it doesn’t mean it can’t be bright again. My recent series, 'Hidden in Plain Sight,’ has become an integral part of my healing process. The work places focus on the human experience and our response to everyday burdens with an emphasis on mortality and grief. Through my own experiences and observation of others, I examine the feelings and thoughts that take place as we cope with stress, grief, and death. These can be the end of a relationship, a missed opportunity, stressor stacking, and especially the revocation of rights. Grief can feel so oppressive it’s as if one can’t breathe. Oftentimes it causes apathy and sometimes it feels like acceptance. It is isolating. It is absolute loneliness. The subjects are composed of intense color schemes and prominent shadows in an intimate setting. This captures their spirit and evokes a sense of solitude even while they endure chaotic thoughts. While we think we’re camouflaged in our own metaphorical shadows, sometimes we get stuck in them, but in the end shadows aren’t permanent. They expire just like life does. Time is fleeting and we must move on. In our shadows filled with grief and stress, our light is shrouded in darkness. Although it might not burn as brilliant as it used to, our light still exists. It’s just hidden in plain sight.