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Eddyth Gaviria was always artistic, but until she visited a dental office for her son’s appointment, she never considered making a career of her abilities.

“[…] I saw the murals in the office,” explained Gaviria, “and I [thought] ‘I want to do that.’”

First trained as an artist and a publicist in The Art Institute of Medellin in Colombia, Gaviria enjoyed painting her home creatively, but did not have any intention of using her skills in a professional capacity. It was not until emigrating from Columbia, and taking up residence in the United States that she began to see a career in art as a genuine possibility.

“In the United States, I [began]…painting murals,” said Gaviria, who has been commissioned to create such art in the U.S. upon several occasions.

Despite success in the United States, however, Gaviria has experienced difficulty finding clients in Canada, and has not had many opportunities to paint professionally since arriving. Gaviria considers this to be a product of consumer mentality, and of a societal disregard for art. “It’s difficult,” she said, when questioned. “It’s [easier] and cheaper for […] people to buy something in Walmart.” Prospective customers often expect the work to be instantaneous, as if mass-produced.

During the start-up of her business in Hamilton, Gaviria has continued to create art. In the absence of mural clients, she paints and draws independently, expanding her grasp of medium by studying at the Dundas Valley School of Art. “I want the people know my art,” she said. “I want […] people to know who I am.”

“She hopes to eventually make a living by creating murals for people’s homes and places of work…”

While taking measures to promote herself as an artist within the Hamilton community, she is simultaneously volunteering at AbleLiving as an art therapist for people with disabilities. She hopes to eventually make a living by creating murals for people’s homes and places of work, but for now, she takes pride in her position at AbleLiving, claiming to “…see [a] strong response.” She considers the role of art within society to be of vital importance, and wishes that such activities would be made more readily available.

Gaviria is part of The Hispanic Fraternity here in Hamilton, and attributes many of her opportunities to display her art to them. Through them, she has received exposure in Hamilton for her pastel drawings and acrylic paintings. Gaviria has also participated in programs at The Immigrant Women’s Centre, including the Leading and Learning Workshop, which specializes in peer support and community resources. When asked whether the program had helped her, Gaviria’s response was resoundingly positive. Thanks to them, she said, “I know more places where I can go to…try to be involved.” Gaviria adds that she would recommend the program to any new Hamiltonians who wish to better understand the city.

For more information, or to request her artistic services, please contact Eddyth Gaviria at edicega at hotmail dot ca.

 – By Evelyna Kay, Westdale Secondary School | Photo by Michelle Drew

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