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As an 18-year-old mixed media artist based in Lincoln, Kendra Limón often creates images that reflect her Mexican-American culture.
Limón, was born and raised in Denison, Iowa. When she was 14 years old, she and her mother, father, brother and sister moved to Lincoln. Limón said the adjustment from small-town life to a larger city was a culture shock.
“[In Denison] There wasn’t much diversity, it was mostly white people, some hispanics and only a small percentage of black people,” she said. “I didn’t live with any middle eastern people so when I moved here, it was very surprising seeing all these different ethnicities,” Limón said.
Limón said she first took an interest in the arts when she started taking art classes at North Star High School in Lincoln.
“I was doing really good in them and my teacher noticed me, and so she asked if I could join the art club. Since then, I’ve just been really interested in art,” Limón said.
Limón’s parents immigrated to the United States from the northern Mexican states of Sinaloa and Sonora in 2000.
“They came here from Mexico with absolutely nothing. They didn’t have any education here; they didn’t speak the language. I think I’ve had a really good life. I’m grateful for them, they’ve given me everything they possibly could, and I’m just trying to work to give back to them as well,” Limón said.
Since Limón’s immediate family is not fluent in English, she grew up helping them navigate the language when they needed it.
“Since I was young, I have had to translate government documents for them and sometimes even take calls for them to make appointments,” she said.
Most of Limón’s extended family resides in Mexico. In the future, she hopes to travel there to meet members of her father’s family for the first time.
Limón said her artwork is often representative of her experiences as a Mexican American and her family’s culture. She has worked with many mediums but is most attracted to painting and drawing.
“I like to draw things that incorporate my culture. I’ve always been inspired by Frida Kalho, her attitude, and her life,” she said.
Limón said she is specifically inspired by Chicano culture.
“I’m really inspired by that type of art and that’s what I’ve been doing lately. A lot of Chicano art stems from people incarcerated, all they had to do was draw and they would draw on letters and envelopes that they would send to their loved ones,” she said.
Limón also creates customized clothing such as shirts, jean jackets and canvas bags. Last year, she partnered with Angie Gómez to create a new brand, Angelita Limón.
“I was a big fan of Kendra’s art, and I was studying business so we thought it would be a great idea to collaborate our strengths together,” Gómez said. “If all goes well, we hope to one day open a boutique.”
In January, Limón designed a shirt that features the colors of the Mexico flag, green, white and red. In the middle of the design, Limón created an image of the aztec calendar which represents her Mexican ancestors.
When she is not working on school assignments or working at Neveria Arcoiris, a local restaurant, Limón works on personal art projects to build her portfolio.
She is creating a poster as part of a project prompted by History Nebraska (HN) and Nebraska Arts Council (NAC). They first invited Nebraska artists to recreate historic posters that encourage social action in 2020.
“Currently I’m making an abolish ICE poster,” she said. “I chose abolish ICE because I have not really seen anything like that in Nebraska, also it’s something I feel passionate about and represents my culture and other minorities.”
Limón said she plans to pursue her passion for visual art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. While attending college, she hopes to get an apprenticeship at a local tattoo shop and also do freelance work.