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Soraida Martinez
Lindenwold, NJ

Artwork Details
Labeling is Social Lynching
Acrylic on Canvas
36" x 48"

Soraida Martinez is a Latina artist of Puerto Rican heritage who is known as the creator of Verdadism, a form of hard-edge abstraction in which paintings are juxtaposed with social commentaries on truth in America. Soraida was born in New York City and is also a graphic designer specializing in corporate literature.

Soraida studied art at Rowan University, where she majored in fine art with a specialization in design and graduated in 1981; she also holds a Liberal Arts degree focusing on psychology. Soraida calls her art style Verdadism because her paintings are accompanied by her written social commentaries, which are based on her personal life experiences. Soraida has gained recognition and received many awards for her unique thought-provoking and visually-stimulating art style, which she created in 1992 and which addresses issues of sexism, racism and stereotyping while seeking to promote a deeper understanding of the human soul and tolerance.

Soraida and her art have been featured in many magazines and newspapers, as well as on radio and television; and, she also served as a member of the New Jersey State Council On The Arts. Through her art, Soraida is an activist and humanitarian who visits young children in schools in order to encourage and inspire them to strive to achieve their fullest potential. She is frequently asked to do workshops on her Verdadism art and philosophy at colleges and universities.

Writes Soraida, "My art reflects the essence of my true self and the truth within me. My perspective is unique: I am a woman, a Puerto Rican, an artist, a designer and a businessowner. My experience is diversity: I come from the inner city, I've spent most of my life in maintream America and I've come to know both worlds and their people. My struggle is for recognition, acceptance and inclusion; and, against racism, sexism and the dominant eurocentric male society, which never expected much from me but still did not allow my voice to be heard. My belief is that one must empower oneself with one's own truth. This is my art: Verdadism."


1. Piano Man: The Survival of Hope
"As a child in New York City, I walked by this one neighborhood church where I heard Piano Man playing gospel music which, to me, gave me the feeling of hope. And that's the subject matter of this painting: hope and the expression thereof. From the time that we are born, society places mental blocks in our paths which we eventually accept or condone. Despite these obstacles, hope is what gives us the potential to empower ourselves, to create our own truth and, ultimately, to choose our own destiny. In Piano Man, hope is symbolized by the musician whose image is one of striving to achieve against the odds. The hands of Piano Man, painted as blocks, represent the stifling forces of self-doubt...even though the blocks are really not in the hands, but in the mind. The bold colors are the life and soul of hope. The eyes challenge you, the viewer, to look within."

2.The Weeping Puerto Rican Cuatro Player
"We all know that Puerto Rico has an uncertain future. The Weeping Puerto Rican Cuatro Player is weeping because of the uncertainty of the future of the island of Puerto Rico."

3.Las Three Puerto Rican Hermanas
"Even though my two sisters and I are different in many ways and have taken different directions in life, we share a past pain and an unconditional love and respect for each other as women."

4. Labeling is Social Lynching
"Throughout my life I have carried lots of labels and I have had to struggle against labels that have more than one meaning. For example, the word "minority" has one meaning, which has taken on many bad connotations. When one is put into a category or niche, one is literally filed away and one has to fight in order to get out of that box. I am totally against labeling because this is another way that society lynches your individuality and deprives you of opportunity."

5. Latinos Have Power and Most of Us Don't Know It
"Latinos need to organize and vote in numbers. Many Latinos feel powerless because they have not been able to unite. We need our men and women to work together for positive change. Our greatest concern should be in making sure that our children are educated."

6. Self Effacing Woman
"Most women become self-effacing when they marry and start using a man's surname. They take a different identity, as if their identity wasn't good enough. I have noticed that most women tend to put themselves down and live through men. Many women leave their profession when they get married, as though their profession was only a second-hand goal and their man's profession is far more important. Many single women also do this to themselves. They too think it is not polite to have a goal or to list their credentials and that they are not important unless they have a man. And when women don't do this to themselves, society does this for them. When you walk with a man, people automatically think that he is going to pay or that he is going to make the decision or that he is the smart one. So, a woman has to be strong enough to not be self-effacing. Let's list our accomplishments and let other young women know that they too can stand alone and contribute to our society and make a mark in this world and not be self-effacing."

7. The Terror of Demasking Oneself
"In this society, we have been conditioned to be what people want us to be. We, as individuals, are afraid to be individuals. That's because American society, which is based on democracy, is actually not so open-minded when it comes to new ideas or different races; and, as human beings, we all know that. Therefore, many of us have the terror of demasking ourselves. Most of us would rather die than let someone really know us...perhaps, because of the fear of rejection or a lack of awareness. So we live a "so-so" life: never being ourselves; sleeping and wearing our daily masks; always afraid of being awakened."


Upcoming exhibition:

Racism in America
Verdadism Art Gallery
8-15-2015 until 9-15-2015

220 South Berlin Road, Lindenwold, NJ 08021
Phone: 856-346-3131
Gallery hours are scheduled by appointment.