Melanie Polanco

Making art is not only a form of therapy, but it can also be a form of awareness. In my first year of college, my dad was diagnosed with the terminal disease ALS. He passed 11 months later, and it was absolutely devastating. However, I’ve come to put not only my grief but my wishes into my art, in hopes that there is someone there to listen. A large portion of my work, which is primarily painting and drawing, is to share awareness on a disease that needs it.

In addition to the idea of awareness, I love to talk about my Mexican culture and how we deal with death. Death is always heartbreaking no matter what, but in Mexico, death is looked at in a completely different light. It’s beautiful how we deal with it, celebrating life instead. The way we grieve is with food, bright colors, family gatherings, decorating… the list goes on.

I feel that the United States in particular can make use of Mexican traditions. Death in the U.S. is so cold, there is no time to be spent with short (not to mention expensive) funeral services and grief in an ever-moving economy.
Art is just so important, art can bring conversation, art can make changes. That is what I strive to and will do with my art.


Contact Information

Melanie Polanco

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Artist Work

Siempre te Recordare (2023)
This is an oil painting about my grief losing my father. I am in a dark room with a TV that has a still image of my father and I dancing when I was a toddler. It is a very heartfelt piece.

Ay Murcielago! (2023)
This is a still-life on a ceramic skeleton and a preserved vampire bat paperweight, a reflection of myself as these are things that I enjoy to collect.

Hasta La Raiz (2023)
This is an installation style piece based around the song "Hasta La Raiz" by Natalia Lafourcade. It surrounds the idea of death, this time in the concept of Omens, shown by the bat, crow, dagger, and chrysanthemum.