March 9, 2022

KIPP Student Feature: Elisha Torres

My name is Elisha Torres. I go to Kipp Academy Collegiate. I am 15/16 years old.

Who is your hero?

My older sister is my hero. She inspires me to fully express myself. She does way more than inspire me to be the best version of myself, she inspires me to reveal the raw aspects of myself. She encourages me to use my anger and passion as fuel for my interests. She pushes me to become my own person that prioritizes my mental health, physical health, my boundaries, my future, and aspirations.

How are you helping make history?

I make history through painting. In summer 2020, I started painting consistently on canvases and my walls. Most of these paintings were of black women to display many aspects of black femininity. The delicate, light bringing, bright, and healing tones. As well as the dark, traumatic, shadowy, and dim experiences that were thrust upon black feminine people to suppress those graceful and alluring facets. I create artwork that expresses two outlooks on black femininity simultaneously. One is the idea that the systems in place make self-acceptance and inner peace difficult and, two, black women persist in manifesting their inner peace even in these poor conditions. I make visual history that paints the life of a sapling growing in between sidewalk cracks. I paint the long history of alienation. I paint the feeling of almost believing you were not meant to inhabit this world but persisting anyways. And being alive and accepting your flesh as a part of the earth as its own revolution.

When you think about your future, what gets you excited?

What gets me excited about the future is the idea of creating art in different forms that reflect parts of my identity freely and comfortably. I am excited to collaborate with other people who are interested in exploring different mediums of expression and learning about ways to incorporate my connection with black femininity in these new art forms. I am also excited to travel and physically experience new environments outside of my future career.

What’s it mean to you to be a woman?

Being a woman for me means connecting and expressing my feminine side and my masculine side. I do this through my clothing style and makeup looks but especially my hairstyles. Being a woman means exploring every part of my identity, meaning the beautiful parts and the parts of myself that I need to work on.

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