We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalia Ventura and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natalia, what matters most to you?
Authenticity, honesty, keeping it real, being down-to-earth–these are my guiding principles. If something pulls me away from being my most authentic self, then I don’t want that thing in my life. Seeking authenticity is part of self-liberation–when we can be our most genuine selves in any room. The diversity, equity, and inclusion work I do is rooted in this principle. Liberation cannot happen in the world unless it starts first in our own daily lives. I’ve found that liberation through art, music, fashion, and using this creativity in my activism work.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art has forced me to confront a lot of the tensions in my identity. I was raised in a Latinx, Catholic household, then went off to college to study feminism and anti-racism and anti-capitalism, so there is a huge push and pull that I continue to feel today. I’ve had to learn how to marry my identities of being a Catholic, a Latina, and a radical social justice activist, and then somehow translate that into my art to share my stories with the world. It’s emotionally and psychologically challenging, but nothing feels better than sharing the finished product. People don’t always understand it, but that’s not my goal. It’s about paving my own path and creating work that can empower others who feel the same tensions as me. It’s about pushing through the challenges of oppression and making something beautiful in the end.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
For me, anywhere my friends and family are is the place to be. I love to take my friends to my family home in Chula Vista and show them my life–feed them some homemade Cuban food, take them to Tacos el Gordo, maybe even take them to Tijuana if conditions allow. Lately, I’ve been thinking about ways to have fun and go out without spending money and giving into marketing. In Southern California, we have so much biodiversity, so going out into nature has been the best way to have an anti-capitalistic good time.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My evolution into an artist and activist has been bolstered by my half Mexican, half Cuban family, my teachers and mentors, and my social justice circles at Chapman University. They are the village that continues to raise me to this day.
For picture of protest with “Stop AAPI Hate” posters: Photographer Clarisse Guevarra