Kilia Llano talked to The Newave. about her love for art, her experiences abroad and the rich culture of the Dominican Republic
Kilia Llano is a versatile, talented fine artist, illustrator and art teacher from the Dominican Republic. Before painting murals in different part of the “DR” she studied Fine Arts and Illustration at Altos De Chavón School Of Design and she also got a bachelor degree in Fine Arts and Illustration at Parsons School Of Design, NY among others minor studies at Universitat De Barcelona (Art History) and Unibe University (Art Education) at Santo Domingo.
Kilia was the head illustrator at the national newspaper Listín Diario in Santo Domingo. She has also illustrated for several newspapers and magazines like El Financiero Times, Global Magazine, Santo Domingo Times magazine, El Leoncito Magazine and many more.
The multidisciplinary artist who has her own studio as an illustrator has also been working as a fine artist and art educator for children and teens from different social backgrounds. In order to bring “Colors” and “Life” in the different cities of the Dominican Republic, she is currently working with others fellows artists doing urban street art in several neighbourhoods of the Caribbean island.
You were born, and you are currently living in the Dominican Republic.
Can you tell us what was it like growing up on such a wealthy Island like “RD”?
Well, the island is not really wealthy but for sure has a rich culture on both sides. Growing here gave me a very particular sense of colours since I was a kid the colours and many parts of our beautiful culture have always been an inspiration for me. The nature that surrounds us, the heritage from the Tainos and Africa are the most important thing present in my work.
You’ve been working as an illustrator and also as a fine art artist.
How did you get into that world of “Art”? What was the main reason behind it?
As I recall. At 8 years old I started my first art class and from there, art was everything I wanted to do. Art has always been the best way for me to express myself, or maybe the only way.
Apart from being a fine artist, Illustrator, you are also an Art teacher.
What does being a teacher means to you? and What is the main thing that you are trying to transmit to your students?
For me being a teacher is a way to give something valuable and important back to my people and my country. I try to teach my students to use their creativity to solve any problem and learn how to appreciate art in all its forms.
You seem to really love painting murals “In the Street” and during your career, you have participated in several projects such as “Muralizando RD” by the Organization “Yo Amo Rd”.
How does it feel getting involved in painting murals in the different neighbourhoods of the Dominican Republic?
It feels great, especially because of the lack of museums and art education that we suffer here in the DR, street art means to take the museums out in the streets, so we can make people happier and proud of their barrios and at the same time, we also have the opportunity to educate.
One of your most famous “mural” is the one that you painted in the neighbourhood “La Cienaga” “showing a woman refreshing her face with water”. In fact, the mural has been shared several times on social media and has received a lot of positive feedback. Can you tell us what it was like to paint in this neighbourhood and what was your objective while completing this mural?
La cienaga is a strong and difficult neighbourhood. A Lot of poverty is present, so painting there meant a Lot to me, first because they have no access to art, also because after we painted they felt more proud of their neighbourhood. The idea or concept of the mural came because the neighbourhood is right beside the river Ozama and I wanted to represent the positive effects of water on human emotion.
On May 17, 2020, the General elections will be held in the Dominican Republic. As an engaged citizen, What would you like for your country in the future?
No corruption!!! and have new politicians that really care about people, not making the reach.
Your passion allowed you to travel to many countries such as the United States, Spain, Colombia and more. Can you describe to us your best memory from one of those experiences?
Painting in Colombia, Sicily and Spain were beautiful experiences but the feedback I got from people in Lynn, MA, was an unforgettable experience. The way they appreciate urban art and urban artists is unique 🙏🏽
What would you suggest about The Must Eat, the must do, in “RD” by Kilia Llano?
Must eat: mangú with fried cheese and onions and also a Good “Moro de Guandules” cooked with coconut with fried fish.
Must do: to see “Bahia de las Águilas” (South) and “Playa Bonita” (northeast), and also ride a bike around all the beautiful countrysides that the Dominican Republic has
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Can you also tell us about a place that you particularly like in your country?
Valle Nuevo, the mother of the waters of the Dominican Republic, right in the Center of the island.
What’s next for Kilia Llano?
keep working until I have a piece of art in every small town or city of the Dominican Republic
Follow Kilia Llano on Instagram @KiliaLlano
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