Maricella Obando Moya arrived in the United States from her native Costa Rica on Sept. 7th, 2015, knowing very little English. Four years and a lot of hard work later, and Obando Moya not only learned the language, but had also become a U.S. citizen as well, living in Greenfield.
Obando Moya’s lifelong passion is her artwork, and she began her professional career at the age of 16. Having studied artmaking in her homeland, she expresses herself through painting, with a particular love for creating murals.
Producer Dave Fraser shares her story.
Read the full transcript:
Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: Maricella Obando Moya arrived in the United States from her native Costa Rica on September 7th, 2015, knowing very little English. Four years and a lot of hard work later, and she not only learned the language, but had also become a US citizen as well, living in Greenfield.
Her lifelong passion is her artwork, and she began her professional career at the age of 16. Having studied art making in her homeland, she expresses herself through painting, with a particular love for creating murals.
Producer Dave Fraser shares her story.
Dave Fraser, Connecting Point: Creating art has always been a big part of Maricella Obando Moya’s life.
Maricella Obando Moya, Artist: It’s so peaceful. It’s like a — you disconnected yourself with the real world and you enter in your own space and quiet. You can create whatever you want with your emotions.
Dave Fraser: Moya was born and raised in Cartago, a mountain city in Costa Rica. Her childhood was difficult, living with an alcoholic mother and an absent father.
But she discovered art at an early age when her kindergarten teacher introduced her to painting.
Maricella Obando Moya: When I was a child, I remember to me was a difficult life. And to me, I make friends with the stones in the river, you know, the huge stones. I paint faces, like I call them my friends.
Dave Fraser: Many of her paintings come from her imagination, memories of her homeland, as well as people’s dreams, bringing back into the world moments that they thought were vanished forever.
Maricella Obando Moya: One night I had a dream — was beautiful. That morning, I woke up. I said, “You know what? My artwork, I am going to paint my dreams and energies that I can perceive in Mother Nature and people as well.”
And boom! I did it all in my canvas.
Every time that I can hear somebody, with a dream, it’s like, “Can I paint your dream?”
Dave Fraser: Moya left Costa Rica when she was in her thirties and moved to Western Mass with her family. K
nowing only “Hi,” “how are you?” and “thank you,” she began to learn English at the Center for New Americans in Northampton.
Maricella Obando Moya: When you are learning a language, it’s like a try to survive. Because you are in a country, when you need to find a job, try to communicate yourself with others, and doing something, you know?
Am I 38 years old, you know, a adult woman, try to learn like a baby, become again and growing every year, you know, with this new language.
Dave Fraser: As a way of showing her appreciation for all the Center for New Americans did for her, Moya decided to paint a mural in the stairway outside of the CNA’s office. The Center had won a $1,000 grant from the Northampton branch of the Aussen Foundation to fund the mural.
Maricella Obando Moya: I put my mind in that place and that mural: I remember this lady. I remember this guy. Oh, just one, you know. And it’s become. And the whole world, I paint it because we are one with the same energy.
Dave Fraser: Moya’s Greenfield home is full of art, murals, and furniture she has found on the side of the road and painted, transforming those pieces into works of art. Her living room is her studio, where she paints and gets inspiration.
Maricella Obando Moya: Before I just start, I started here. Just…I take colors and it’s coming like a — like magic. It’s like a boom! I need this brush. I need this painting. And you decide to start to do it.
I never think I did a mistake, because in life there is no mistakes. We are learning from them and always, you know, like through painting around — it’s like, I like this light here. Maybe mean something there. Oh, yeah. I can create this!
It’s my dreams. It’s my energy. It’s my love. It’s my passion.