Meet Ana María Hernando

Meet Argentinian Artist Ana María Hernando

By Leslie Simon

National Hispanic Heritage Month is being celebrated Sep. 15 - Oct. 15, and we are highlighting local Hispanic-Americans who have had a positive influence on the Denver metro region and beyond. This past March as part of our Amplify series, Latin American art museum Museo de las Americas turned our front lobby into a kaleidoscope of bright color. We spoke with one of the artists they present, Ana María Hernando, about the role Latin American culture has on her art and life as a whole.

Read on to learn more about Hernando, and then come experience Latin American art in action with the Brazilian fairy tale The River Bride playing in the Arvada Center Black Box Theatre through November 6. 

Ana María Hernando, from Argentina and based in Colorado, is a multidisciplinary artist. She is interested in making the invisible visible, and devotedly explores the sacred feminine through women's rich histories, their daily lives and relationship to hand-worked textiles and wares. In her installations, Ana María uses textiles in abundance, and includes the work of women from around Latin America and beyond, from embroideries of cloistered nuns in Buenos Aires, to mountains of tulle, to the weavings and wares of Peruvian women from the mountains.

Photo Chad Herschberger, from the filming of Undomesticated, Ana María Hernando, a documentary by Amie Knox

Arvada Center: When in your life did you realize that art was important to you?

Ana María Hernando: When I was three or four, my parents had teachers come in to teach me and my two older sisters English. The teacher would give me a word that I had to copy, and after I did that I could draw that word. I loved the drawing - I just loved it. I felt like my world was opening and around the age of five I said “I think that this is what I want to do!”

AC: Were there obstacles that you had to overcome to pursue your dream of art?

AMH: Yes! Well, society everywhere tells you “that’s not a viable way to be in the world.” At least at that time growing up, that was the message I was receiving. And the political situation was difficult in Argentina, and many of the artists and writers were going into exile, and were being disappeared. I think the whole political situation was making my parents very worried. So when I decided to go to college, my parents were not supportive of me studying the arts. I thought “I’ll study something that will support myself, and then I can go to art school afterward.” And I did that! I went to school and studied Education and began to work as a teacher, and enrolled in art classes at night at the National School of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires. So I would work during the day and then go to school from 7pm-12am. In the middle of that, I moved to the United States, had to get my English up to speed to prepare to be accredited to teach here, and continued my studies here.

There is always the pressure of society - “Is this really an option? Are you going to succeed?” So many questions artists must ask themselves, even today. However, I think there has never been a better time to be an artist because there are more and more avenues now. But it is a career for your whole life, and it presents many challenges with how to make all the parts work. 

AC: How does Argentinian culture inspire you?

AMH: I have never not been an Argentinian. I lived there for 26 years, so as a child you absorb it. It’s in everything - the food, the colors, the ethics, the aesthetics, and the way your body relates to others. And I see that in my work. In the colors, in my need for light. Latin American cultures tend to be very aware of the groups, the community, and I see that in my work as well. When I go back to Argentina (I still have a lot of my family there) I get nourished in deep ways - it’s not through words, it’s not in the head, it’s something very vital. And new things keep happening because cultures are changing and I love how to relate to the new parts. Everything has an origin. I can feel my Argentinian roots in everything I do.

AC: What are your favorite aspects of Latin American art and folklore?

AMH: The community, the sense of family. The way we mix ages, and we don’t separate age groups as much as in the United States, we just come together and there are more options to absorb and give to each other no matter where you are in age. We love to share. All throughout Latin America if you go to a party - THAT’S a party. You don’t finish til breakfast.  Even though Latin America has a history of deep suffering, and right now there’s a lot of selfishness in the structure of government throughout Latin America. But we don’t miss opportunities to celebrate. In that way, we are explosive. 

As for the arts, there is way more abstraction in Latin American art, from not only the native cultures, but from the early 1900s as well. There’s a lot of inspiration from the colors, but the winters can be gray and we don’t have snow. Then there’s the sand. All of that creates a mixture - it’s a different and very definite way of being in the world. At the same time, when you move a lot like I have, it mixes even more.

I’ve lived in Peru, and there you have Quechua words in the language, and the notions of the culture. And I see how my work is very influenced by the Andean cosmology and the research of ancient knowledge. In all of these cultures, they are connected to the Earth.

AC: How did exposure to Spain from your grandparents inform your work?

AMH: Argentina has had a lot of immigration from many parts of the world. My grandparents immigrated at the beginning of the 20th Century. For Spaniards, it was an easy option. Argentina was offering a lot of opportunities, and the language made it easier because Argentina, like most of Latin America, is colonized by the Spanish. At the same time, there are a lot of people from Italy, from England, from many countries, and that mixture of cultures is very present. It made Buenos Aires very metropolitan and varied. When I go to Europe, there are many countries that feel like home. 

AC: How can Americans appreciate Latin American folklore and art here in Denver?

AMH: You have institutions like Museo de las Americas who keep expanding what Hispanic artists and histories are shown, and also we have the Biennial of the Americas annual event that makes an effort to keep the threads of all the Americas together. The Museum of Contemporary Art has a strong connection historically with Mexico, but also other Latin American countries. The Denver Art Museum does Hispanic installations and more. I am right now doing a residency at RedLine Contemporary Art Center for two years. All of these places are really paying attention to what is happening on the other side of the border. When enjoying Latin American art, I recommend that you leave all preconceptions outside and absorb the work as it is today.

AC: Is there anything in Hispanic culture that you think we could use more of in American culture?

AMH: Definitely. I think one of the biggest influences on my work is the women in my family, the grandmothers and women coming together. I see in all these Latin American cultures how the work of women - these circles where we work together - make things stronger. Sometimes it’s not about one person, the ego is not involved. Latin America has a strong culture of loving women. On the other hand, there is oppression in the patriarchal structures. I think the United States can look at Latin American culture and study the things you want to do and the things you don’t want to do when it comes to women.

AC: What hopes do you have for the future?

AMH: Women are strong. I love how our voices are being heard more and more. I have much faith in that, and I think it’s our hope for society. I also love seeing how young people from diverse places are not sleeping. They are awake, they are aware, they are committed to a change we all need. And that gives me much hope.

Work pictured:

We Cannot Weep Without Vibrating the Waters
Tulle, wire, wood and felt, dimensions variable.
Photo Robischon Gallery

Home,Reignite the Arts,Donate Now,Donate Now,Corporate Giving,Art Circle,2024-2025 Theatre Season,Renew,Visit Us,View All Events,Roland Bernier: In Other Words,Word Play,Lola Montejo: After Another After,Floyd D. Tunson: Ascent,Anthony Garcia Sr: Pigment,Pamela Webb: Hand + Hammer,Lauri Lynnxe Murphy: Seeing the Trees For the Forest,Pink Progression: Collaborations,Imprint: Print Educators of Colorado,528.0: Regional Juried Printmaking Exhibition,Wood.Works,Carley Warren: Three Pieces,Viral Influence: Art in the Time of Coronavirus,Brady Smith: (Don’t be embarrassed by) Your Trouble with Living,Melody Epperson: 100 Years + 1,Blurring The Line,Narkita Gold: Black In Denver,Art of the State 2022,One Sheet,Colorado Abstract +10: A Survey,Gary Staab: Second Nature,Flora: Scientific Botanical Illustrations of Colorado Plants,Art + Science,Jeffco Schools Foundation High School Art Exhibition,Wendy Kowynia: Following the Thread,Bueno: Mark Bueno,Ramón Bonilla: The boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places for me.,Drawn: From The Source,Day of African Culture,Big Draw Colorado,Rockley Instrument Sale,Allyship & Advocacy in Action: Supporting the LGBTQAI+ Community,Beautiful - The Carole King Musical,Fine Art Market,Holiday Pottery Sale,Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812,A Year With Frog and Toad,Lyle the Crocodile,Kaleidoscope,Swing, Swing, Swing: Benny and Beyond ,Spring Pottery Sale,53rd Annual Jeffco Schools Foundation High School Art Exhibition,Matt Christie: Between Then and Now,Robin Cole: Genesis,3rd Law Dance/Theater,Emilio Lobato: A Mi Manera A 40-Year Survey,Latitude 37° Art of Southern Colorado,The Laramie Project,The Laramie Project Talkbacks with Judy and Dennis Shepard,Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella,Hazel Miller and the Collective: Christmas with Soul,Noises Off,Latin Sounds From Legendary Artists,Big Band Royalty: Nothin’ But the Blues,Sue Oehme Inclusions,Artist Proof: Print Process at Oehme Graphics,Salon des Refusés: Rejects Pop-Up and Performance Event,So…You Want to be a Public Artist: Navigating Rejection in Art,Voices of Honor,Standing for Humanity in Gaza and Israel ,Colcha Embroidery of the San Luis Valley,Denver Gay Men's Chorus: Shout!,I Regret to Inform You…Rejected Public Art,inFORMed Space: Perspectives in Sculpture, Community Cultural Celebration and Concert with Baaba Maal,Waitress - ASL Performances,Dracula: A Feminist Revenge Fantasy, Really - ASL Performances,Lyle the Crocodile - Sensory Friendly Performance,Lyle the Crocodile - ASL Shadow Interpreted Performances,Clybourne Park - ASL Performances,A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder - ASL Performances,Once Upon A Mattress - ASL Performances,Once Upon A Mattress - Sensory Friendly Performances,Spin Doctors with Cracker,Orquesta Akokán with Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen,Denver Brass presents: Brass, Camera, Action,Mozart Under Moonlight,Melissa Etheridge: I’m Not Broken Tour,Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder,CJRO Presents: Lady Sings the Groove with Tatiana LadyMay Mayfield,A Tribute to Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops,Tower of Power,Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble: Prisms,Corinne Bailey Rae,Preservation Hall Jazz Band,The High Kings and Gaelic Storm,Yola,Kingfish,Big Richard,Dining Partners,Amplify,Accessibility Events,Theatre,Upcoming Shows,2024-2025 Theatre Season,Renew,Performances for Students,Auditions,Chorus Auditions for Once Upon a Mattress,Galleries,Current Exhibitions,Gallery Events,Upcoming Exhibitions,Art Sales,Art Submissions,Art Market Application,Sculpture Field,History Museum,Archive,Education,View All Classes,Summer Camps,Full Day,Summer Camp Performances,FAQ,Spring Break Camps,Classes for Kids,Classes for Adults,Ceramics,Front Range Youth Symphony,Dance Classes,Links and Forms,Arts Day,Arts Day Outreach,Ageless Adults,Scholarships,Yesterado,Yesterado,Field Trips and Outreach,ECE Field Trips,K-5 Field Trips,Middle and High School Field Trips,Outreach Programs,Preschool Partnership Program,Music and Dance,Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra,Summer Concerts,Humanities,Private Event Rentals,Caterers,Vendors,Straight Talk Series ,Straight Talk with Philip Sneed,COVID’s toll on Colorado theatre: 224 productions and counting ,Straight Talk with Lynne Collins,Straight Talk with Rod Lansberry,Straight Talk with Phamaly, Buntport, Colorado Shakes and Rocky Mountain Rep,Straight Talk with Creede Rep, Town Hall, Candlelight and Theatre Company of Lafayette,Straight Talk with Aurora Fox, BDT Stage, Cherry Creek Theatre and Misfits,Straight Talk with Su Teatro, Vintage, Backstage and Counterweight,Straight Talk with Local Theater Company, Theater 29, The Source and Equinox,Straight Talk with the Denver Center, Jesters Dinner Theatre, Glenwood Vaudeville Revue and Germinal Stage-Denver,Actors' union issues safety guidelines for re-opening,Straight Talk with square product, Forge Light, Springs Ensemble Theatre and Coal Creek Theatre of Louisville,Straight Talk with the Fine Arts Center, Miners Alley Playhouse, Dangerous Theatre and Lone Tree Arts Center ,Straight Talk with Lake Dillon Theatre Company, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company and Northglenn Arts,Straight Talk with The Catamounts, Bas Bleu and Thingamajig,Straight Talk with Curious Theatre Company,Straight Talk with OpenStage, Firehouse and Adams Mystery Playhouse,Straight Talk with Platte Valley Players and Theatreworks,Straight Talk with Parker Arts, Stories on Stage and Thunder River ,Staight Talk 2 with Philip Sneed: This much is uncertain,Arvada Center News,Getting to Know The Big Tuna,Getting to Know: Keith Ewer and his Hammered Dulcimer,Understanding Farce in Theatre,2024 Summer Concert Series Playlist Volume 1,2024 Summer Concert Series artists and who they sound like,Pivoting With,Pivoting with The Black Actors Guild,Pivoting with ... Emily Van Fleet and Nathan Jones,Pivoting With ... Tammy Franklin and the Curtain Playhouse,Pivoting With Nick Sugar and the Town Hall Arts Center,Pivoting With Helen Murray and the Aurora Fox,Pivoting with Edith Weiss and Christy Montour Larson,Pivoting With Scott RC Levy and the Fine Arts Center Theatre Company,Pivoting with Todd Debrecini for Halloween,Pivoting with Ashley Campbell,Pivoting with Meghan Anderson Doyle,Pivoting with Jenna Moll Reyes,Pivoting with Erik Fellenstein,Pivoting with Ray Bailey ,Pivoting with Tara Falk,Community News,Inside the Arvada Center,All About Printmaking Techniques,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Collin Parson ,Christina Noel-Adcock,"Bright Star" cast unveils video as message of hope,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Christine Moore,Humans of the Arvada Center: Steven Cogswell,Humans of the Arvada Center: Ashi K. Smythe,City of Arvada to install new sculpture in Hoskinson Park,Humans of the Arvada Center Jessie Page,Humans of the Arvada Center Cal Meakins,Humans of the Arvada Center: Adam Stolte,Supreme Court workplace ruling hits home for Lisa Leafgreen,'Time for talk is over': Arvada Center launch 'Amplify' series to raise black male voices,Humans of the Arvada Center Jon Olson ,Humans of the Arvada Center: Abygail Rosales,Revealing The Dialogue,Amplify Epiode 3 launches, series expanding to include black women,Photo Blog: Sweeney Todd Rehearsals,Humans of the Arvada Center: Gabriel Morales,Cleo Parker Robinson dances back in the box with Arvada Center,Amplify turns the mic over to local Black women ,Beth Malone bringing 'joy bomb' to Arvada Center oon September 4,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Emily King,Amplify Women Episode 2,Special Book Honors Special Dance Teacher,amplify-series-comes-to-powerful-conclusion,Take a stroll through 'Sculpture in the Field',Lessons from a summer of outdoor theatre in the time of COVID ,Humans of the Arvada Center: John Hamilton,Doreen Montalvo in Denver: Compassion and grit,Betty Hart's presidential promise: Build a bigger tent,Humans of the Arvada Center: Brenna Clendaniel and Sophia Koop,On being Black in Denver and all the colors that it brings,2020 True West Awards: Buntpivot ,2020 True West Awards: Lily Bradford,2020 True West Awards: The Scenesters,2020 True West Awards: Podcastic,2020 True West Awards: Phamaly takes 'Honk' to Japan,2020 True West Awards: Christine Moore,2020 True West Awards: Alive Inside,2020 True West Awards: Michael Ensminger,True West Awards: They Wrote the Book,True West Awards: Rent-A-Pals,True West Awards: Of Spacious Skies,True West Awards: Christopher Page-Sanders,2020 True West Awards: Suffer the little children,2020 True West Awards: Spirit of Giving,2020 True West Awards: Secret Gardeners,2020 True West Awards: Denis Berkfeldt,2020 True West Awards: Amplify,2020 True West Awards: Reclaiming One Star,2020 True West Awards: William Hahn and Jessica Robblee,2020 True West Awards: Lisa Wagner Erickson,20 for 20,Meet the Frasers,Lucy Roucis' final act is a gutpunch,Reunite the Arts Collin Parson,Jodie Steeves and Nancy Terry,Reunite the Arts Lisa Leafgreen,Remembering John Gratkins,Reunite the Arts: From our CEO,Danielle Johnson Q&A,Reunite the Arts Lynne Collins,The Show Must Go On,Diana and Mike Kinsey,Get to Know Kazu Oba,Meet Suzanna Champion,The Gear of Million Dollar Quartet,FRYS and the Symphony,Get to Know Carlou D,Stories From the Studio,Hispanic Heritage Month: Meet Lares Feliciano,21 for 21,An interview with Geoffrey Kent: The Liar,An interview with Jada Suzanne Dixon: Stick Fly,An interview with Jessica Robblee: Animal Farm,Fast Facts About Kinky Boots,Costume Department Boots Up,Rod A Lansberry Announces Retirement from Arvada Center,Lynne Collins Named Artistic Director of Arvada Center Theatre,Getting to Know José González,Getting to Know Joan Osborne and Madeleine Peyroux,The Many Sounds of Carlou D,Setting the mood: Into the Woods Set Designer Brian Mallgrave,Into the Woods Directors Note,The River Bride Director's Note,What is Magical Realism?,Hispanic Heritage Month: Meet Ana María Hernando,Meet Ceramics Artist Luanne Burke,From student to teacher: Hadley’s story,Tackling the Beast,Things to Know About Our Town,Creating the Look of Our Town: A Q and A with Set Designer Brian Mallgrave,Whatever Lola Wants - A Deep Dive into the Damn Yankees Signature Song,Selling Your Soul - A Pop Culture Favorite,The Book Club Play Reads,Metatheatre Elements in Our Town - When a Play Knows It's a Play,90s Throwback Vibe with Arvada Center 2023 Summer Concert Series,Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra at the Arvada Center,Opening Acts of the Arvada Center 2023 Summer Concert Series,Getting to know Baaba Maal,Big Draw Highlights,The Music of Keb' Mo,Getting to Know Lucero,The People at the Indigo Girls ,Listen to the hits of Carole King with this playlist,Carole King: The Writer Behind The Music,Songs inspired by Matthew Shepard,Summer Internship at The Arvada Center,Arvada Center journeys to Southern Colorado : A Photo Diary,Arvada Center and Colorado Chapter of Free Mom Hugs share the love,Costume Inspiration for Cinderella with Costume Designer Madison Booth,Getting to Know: iZCALLi and ArtistiCO,The Many Faces of Cinderella,Arvada Center awarded Social Impact Theatre Grant from Biller Family Foundation,The music that influenced the music of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,Volunteer,About Us,Ticketing Policies,Authorized Ticketing,Group Tickets,Ticket Discounts,Contact Us,Accessibility,Health and Safety,Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access,Careers,Tours,Adopt An Artwork,Temp,Land Acknowledgement,What To Expect at the Theatre,One Sheet Music,Gift Certificates,Privacy Policy,Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet Seat Map,Gala,Gala Sponsors,Errors,404,Natasha and Pierre Synopsis,Concessions,Summer Preorders