NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) —One of Mexico’s many gifts to the world is the country’s powerful influence over art. Isis Casanova got the chance to sit down with Belinda Flores and learn about her style of painting.

“I was born in Mexico City. Since I was a child. I knew I wanted to be an artist. The process is meticulous but it’s meditation for me,” explains Belinda Flores-Shinshillas.

Belinda’s work is a passionate love letter to Mexico.

“This piece is about Día de los Muertos and it’s very important for me. I am painting this for my ancestors as a way to offer love. I love how it’s brilliant, rich and every single piece of clothing in the painting has a meaning,” explains Belinda Flores.

Looking at a large painting Belinda is working on currently, each component in Belinda’s painting hold much symbolism, from the caramel-colored skin of the Mestizo woman, to the sempasuchil, the orange mums that are present in every Day of the Dead altar. At the center of the painting is a heart. The heart is both important in Aztec Culture and important as the Sacred Heart in Christianity.

Her art becomes an extension of her identity, culture and a visual narrative of the story she wants to tell.

“My colors are the colors of the markets in Mexico. These are the colors of the indigenous people, the Mestizos and all the richness that Mexico brings,” explains Belinda Flores.

The painting titled, Las Mujeres de Juarez, is a piece with serious tone. Belinda Flores explains it’s deep meaning saying, “violence against women is a common trend. In Mexico, it’s unprecedented. I created this piece in honor of the martyrs of Juarez, Mexico.”

The monarch butterflies in the Las Mujeres de Juarez painting symbolize the freedom of the spirit, while the pink crosses below are the same pink crosses on the graves of murdered women across Mexico.

“We have the same feelings, the same problems. Art is the bridge that connects communities.”

When Belinda first arrived to New Orleans, she noticed that many people didn’t know much about Mexican art. Belinda began to educate people about her culture. Belinda Flores is current the Executive Director of the New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation. There she helps youth with scholarship opportunities and gifts them with the skill of how to be an artist.