Oglethorpe University freshman Sophia Sobrino ’24 is already making her mark in Atlanta’s art scene. Her work has been featured in art competitions and exhibits at the Latin American Association, the Mexican Consulate, and at UPS headquarters.
The young artist is particularly inspired to create works that are representative of her own personal journey as a Mexican-American.
“With reflection, I have come to appreciate what Mexican and American cultures have provided me with,” Sobrino shared in an artist statement. “I am proud to have come to terms with my identity; although creating a balance between both cultures can feel overwhelming and daunting, I am proud of my efforts.”
UPS invited Sobrino to be one of four artists featured in the their Hispanic Heritage Month Exhibition, currently on view at their corporate headquarters in Atlanta.
As a senior at Campbell High School in Smyrna, Sobrino earned second place in the Latin American Association’s “Portraying the Immigrant Experience,” an art competition that invited high school artists across Georgia to depict how they perceive the life of immigrants.
“I decided I wanted to put my own interpretation on the prompt by depicting my own experience with language barriers and feeling lost within my two cultures,” Sobrino shared about her work Herencia, pictured above. “I felt nervous and anxious during the process because it was such a personal subject matter, and I wanted to do it justice.”
“At the end of the competition, however, I was proud to have contributed to such an important perspective. I felt incredibly connected to my heritage and to the Hispanic community in my area. I think that participating in this competition heavily contributed to feeling closer to my roots, and it was incredibly liberating to finally express my emotions about this heavy topic.”
That award, which came with a scholarship, also helped Sobrino connect to a broader network of professional artists.
In fact, Sobrino’s success led to an invitation from LAA exhibition juror Adisde Yolanda Handal Gamundi for a solo exhibition at the Mexican Consulate in Atlanta. Sobrino’s exhibition “Epifanias” is on view at the Consulate through October 19, 2021.
“I was so excited to be displaying my work at the Mexican Consulate because it would be my first solo exhibition,” said Sobrino. “The fact that it was hosted at the Mexican Consulate made the exhibition even more important to its theme of relationships and identity.”
“I recruited my friends to help install my artwork over the summer and worked personally with Adisde to organize the location in the building, museum labels, and dates of the opening,” the artist explained. “I was so grateful for their kindness, and they even surprised me with guests from the Hispanic and the arts community, a reception, catering, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and personalized decor.”
Now, the studio art major is looking to take her talent and skills to the next level at Oglethorpe.
“Since I’m a self-taught artist, I learned how to create art through YouTube tutorials and reference images online, but I never really felt like a true artist in the art community.”
“I chose Oglethorpe because the art courses and professors really stood out to me,” she continued. “Out of all of the universities I had applied to, I found the courses and teachers to be more engaging and immersive. Oglethorpe really appealed to me because the professors are more passionate about the subjects that they teach, and I really wanted to get involved with the [Oglethorpe University Museum of Art].”
“I’m ready to gain deeper instructive knowledge within this field, and it’s such a relief knowing that I have a community of peers and professors if I ever need help. I’m incredibly grateful to be in an environment that can push me to become the best student and artist I can be.”
“I have really enjoyed everything about Oglethorpe so far, but the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art (OUMA) has a special place in my heart!”
The freshman is already proving that, as the newest member of the museum’s Student Diversity Committee. Created in 2020 as part of Oglethorpe’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, the student committee helps to find, elevate, and prioritize diverse voices at every level of the museum’s activities and programming.
“I’m excited to learn more about my peers and understand their backgrounds,” said Sobrino. “I think the beauty of the Diversity Committee is that we are each unique, but we all work towards the common goal of unity and inclusion.”
Check out more of Sophia Sobrino’s work in an upcoming exhibition for the Mexican holiday Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) at the Margaret Mitchell House Museum.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect that Sophia will graduate a year early, in 2024.