My conversation with Lido Pimienta was something I never knew I needed and once it happened, I felt like I had been waiting for this moment for a really really long time. After nearly three years of being in Toronto, I have been extremely lucky to connect with many other folks of colour in life and in blog—never really a Latinx though. I never fully realized how I yearned for a space, outside of my siblings, where I could weave in and out of spanish to english and back again. I never knew that I wanted to be recognized as a bit of a weirdo within Latino culture; in dress, in attitude and lifestyle. I never knew that I needed someone to point out the ways I never fully fit. While I’m the luckiest to have such an incredibly accepting family who’d never want to change me, I really needed someone to acknowledge the loneliness of occupying that space. I really needed someone to see me.
Colombian-born (Baranquilla baby) Lido welcomed me into her home on a bitterly cold afternoon and I was immediately blown away by her confidence. As immigrants and children of immigrants, we learn to survive by killing that which makes us different or pretending it was never there. Lido’s creative drive seems unaffected by systemic prejudices that aim to keep us in our lane. From drawings to textiles and music (new album out this year!), Lido will find a way.
Images and interview by Karen Campos Castillo
Can you talk about your thesis and the inspiration behind it?
For my thesis I am discussing the democratization of space in the gallery using my curatorial debut show ‘A Secret Garden’ as case study. I wanted to push myself and be an artist-curator and facilitator; I created a series of workshops that brought people together with the purpose of exchanging knowledge. My goal is to manage my own artist-run centre, get together with black and latino curators and start the greatest Black/Latino artist-run centre ever! (which is lacking in Canada)
As a child of immigrants, I have felt the pressure to seek job stability and the arts rarely provide that. How does your family feel about your art pursuits?
My mom has always been supportive of me. Since I could remember my mother paid for music, art lessons, made all my costumes for shows and allowed me to have a bunch of my friends over playing super loud drums until really late at night. I think all parents want their kids to be financially stable. It’s ok to have that concern—art is mainly a hustle. One must be really talented, really lucky or both to be able to make any real money in this, but it is not impossible. One should always do what feels right.
As immigrants, we just have to fight harder.
Where does your confidence come from?
It comes from knowing who I am, where I am from and where I am going.
Once I realized that the Canadian Landscape was a construct, the truth started unfolding.
I stopped resenting living here, and started participating instead, I got to know like-minded people and started to play shows, as well as organized exhibitions. All those experiences have allowed me to remain strong and generous with my gifts. Confidence comes with experience and self love.
You seem to collaborate with first nations artists often—beyond mutual appreciation, do you feel there’s a shared cultural experience as well?
Absolutely. All colonized peoples share the same narrative of displacement, of assimilation and the pain of losing a language, losing tradition or having to fight to keep it.
When we collaborate, we are able to write a new history that is based on love, respect and freedom.
You’re a visual artist too. Are your drawings or textiles an extension of the music or separate?
Indeed! Sometimes feelings can’t be put into words, they get put into images way easier. The same happens with music; some feelings are better expressed that way. I am not a music professional but I understand sound, harmony…Music notes are like colours, so a song can be like a painting. They are the same to me, so whenever possible, I like to deliver them together.
Did having a child change your approach to art?
No. Being a mother is a personal experience. Motherhood can be an inspiring factor, but motherhood does not define me. It is a sensitive question for me because as a young mother, there is a lot of stigma that comes with motherhood when young. Having a child just makes one more organized and on top of things.
How do you balance the daily responsibilities of being a mom and making time for art?
What values do you hope to pass on to your son?
To always be true to himself, to be passionate and compassionate. To feel empathy for others and to always search for the truth.
To be responsible and respectful and to love himself deeply.