Local artist uses dolls to honor women who have made impact on Hispanic cultural arts

By Priscilla Carraman - Producer Trainee

SAN ANTONIO - When local fashion artist Rebecca Medina thinks about women who've made an impact on Hispanic cultural arts, names such as Frida Kahlo and Selena Quintanilla come to mind.

Medina is using her love for dolls to inspire young girls to chase their dreams.

She said keeping the Hispanic culture alive in the fashion and art industry is one of her main goals. She does so by creating life-size dolls inspired by trailblazers in the Hispanic community.

"It's just like kindergarten papier-mache, only on a larger scale," Medina said.

Cardboard, paper and lots of glue are just some of the materials used to make each creation.

Medina said her main inspiration comes from the personal struggles of the people after whom she models her dolls.

"Frida is one of the artists that not everybody understands," Medina said.

Kahlo became famous in the 1930s for her paintings, which included self-portraits depicting her medically traumatizing life.

Kahlo, who was born with spina bifida, contracted polio at age 6. In 1953, she lost her leg to gangrene.

Medina said Kahlo never let her complications stop her from becoming a leader and an activist. Kahlo's strength is something Medina said was part of her own upbringing in San Antonio.

"My family is from San Jose Mission. Our heritage is Indian and Spanish, which are known to be rich, colorful and passionate when it comes to keeping the Hispanic culture together," Medina said.

The legacies of Kahlo and Selena have carried on for decades, and Medina hopes her art will inspire young girls to be proud of their Hispanic culture.

She encourages young girls to pursue their dreams, no matter how big or small they may seem.

"Don't limit yourself. If you want to make something, don't worry about what other people are going to say because it's about yourself," she said. 

September is National Hispanic Heritage Month.

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