HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - Art vibrates in the very veins of Venezuelan artist Daniela Azuaje.
She escaped political persecution in her homeland, and made a new home for herself here in Los Angeles.
“Well, it’s a long story, I was going to be kidnapped back in 2010, and for my safety I had to leave the country in order to survive and live so I came to the States,” she said.
As an artist and activist, she’s uniting with creatives of all cultural backgrounds to convey to Angelenos what’s taking place abroad. She uses various forms of expression at her fundraising events through her local organization, Canaima Project, a partnership with the Alimenta la Solidaridad and the American Venezuelan Engagement Foundation.
“Not only emotions, because emotions come and go, but to take a stand for what is right. Not only, ‘oh that’s a pretty dance, let’s donate.’ I feel it is beyond that, it is to take a stand for justice, not only in Venezuela, but in the world,” she explained.
Her events feature her own paintings and the paintings of other L.A. artists that are displayed for sale. Proceeds provide food and education to children in Venezuela.
“It’s a catastrophe, there is a humanitarian crisis, in every aspect of life, not only economics or politics, everything is going on a downfall and nobody is talking about it,” she said.
But Azuaje refuses to be silent. Her mother, who just arrived in L.A. from Venezuela this year, helps her with the activism work because she too has been acquainted with the suffering first-hand.
“It is a country that is practically not functioning at all. Not the electricity, not the public services, not even the water,” Marina Rodriguez, Azuaje’s mother said.
As she works on details for Canaima Project, Azuaje says it’s easy to be divided when facing such sensitive obstacles, but she hopes people will learn to work together.
“People come from a place where ‘you government, you’re the wrong ones and we are the right ones!’ No, it is about, out of love, let’s just focus on what people really need. And if children cannot have food, how can they have a future?”
As for Azuaje’s future, she will continue to use art, for justice's sake.