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Outstanding Woman – Soraida Martinez

In 1992, Puerto Rican artist, Soraida Martinez created Verdadism, a form of hard-edged painting abstraction that consists of a visual component and written commentary.

Soraida coined the term Verdadism by combining the Spanish word for truth (Verdad) and the English suffix for theory (ism). Every painting is accompanied by a written social commentary based on Martinez's personal life experiences and observations on American society. Because it directly confronted social issues at a time when that was not fashionable, Verdadism has been called the first socially conscious art style of the 21st century. Soraida’s thought-provoking and visually stimulating art style addresses sexism, racism, and stereotyping to promote peace, tolerance and social change. It has influenced the work of many contemporary artists and writers and is being used by educators nationwide to teach diversity and tolerance. Area teachers regularly bring students to her Verdadism Art Gallery to view her art. Soraida also donates her time to bring her paintings to local schools.

Born in New York City, Soraida studied art and psychology at Rowan University, with a specialization in design. In 1996, she was appointed by the governor to a seat on the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. In 1999, she wrote a book on the Art of Verdadism.

Soraida’s current exhibition, “17 Years of Cultivating Social Change”, on view through September 30 at the Verdadism Art Gallery located at 220 South Berlin Road in Lindenwold, poses the question: Can art influence social change? Soraida believes that it can. “Art can plant a seed in someone's mind; look at what is happening now. Many years ago, people thought that my paintings were in your face and that no one would want to talk about these issues. Today, it’s common to talk about social change. I hope that we all take part in making this happen. In my Verdadism philosophy, one must empower oneself with one’s own truth." 

 

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