March 15, 2021

Creating a Community: Tania Ro

Growing up in Juarez, in the border between Mexico and the United States, artist Tania Rodriguez Ortega (known as Tania Ro) learned to survive amidst chaos and the constant threat of violence by emulating the strength of the women in her family and the feminist artists and writers who motivated her to find success. Tania learned to work hard in the face of danger by following the mantra, “Do not live borrowed dreams”. As a young woman, she cultivated an interest in feminism and women’s rights with the influence of writers like Virginia Woolf and Elena Poniatowska.

In Juarez, she studied business administration and pursued an independent education in art history, drawing, and painting. “Saturnino Herrán and Remedios Varo are painters who inspire and motivate me to paint from observation,” she explains. “I consider observation the most important part of my artistic process.”

Indeed, the ability to appreciate her surroundings and find the beauty in intimate moments gave Tania the desire to form a new path as an artist when, eight years ago, she, her husband, and their small child moved from Mexico to Greenville. What Tania at first thought was the end of the professional life in manufacturing she knew in Juarez, became an opportunity to grow and pursue new talents in a new place.

She started taking classes at GCCA with instructor Diarmuid Kelly and soon found that painting became a way to share her worldview and promote change. Last week, Tania moved into Studio F at GCCA where she hopes to “create work that promotes the voice of women artists and is part of the continuous changes in Greenville and in the world.” Although it is difficult to start over in a new place, for Tania, a sense of community is vital and it is the desire to find a supportive community that brought her to GCCA.