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Art unveiling at local Latino market celebrates diversity, combats segregation

M&M Marketplace owner Jaime Miranda wants all residents to feel welcome at his marketplace, will use the paintings to bring community together

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - A crowd gathers to view the paintings at the unveiling celebration of The Frida Project Saturday.   Festive music and colorful paintings brightened up an otherwise gloomy Saturday this past weekend, as 10 portraits of famed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo went on display in Southwest Hillsboro.

At M&M Marketplace, 346 S.W. Walnut St., a crowd of more than 30 people gathered to witness the unveiling of a summer-long art project that invited 10 artists to paint panels in celebration of the area’s cultural diversity.

"This is a great project," M&M owner Jaime Miranda said to the crowd. "This is one of the things that I have been doing throughout my life here in Oregon — trying to bring the community together."

The paintings, created by both immigrant and native residents as part of a partnership with the Tuesday Night Market, are meant to represent the combined talents of people from two different cultures and "illustrate all that is wonderful in our own community," according to contributing artist and longtime Hillsboro resident Linda Holland.

"(Miranda) is so passionate about his family, his home in Hillsboro, his business, his charitable events and his Mexican heritage," Holland said. "The best thing I got from doing this project was getting to know him."HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Project coordinator and panel artist Linda Holland and M&M Marketplace owner Jaime Miranda introduce the artists at the unveiling celebration.

Miranda emigrated from Mexico to Hillsboro in 1985 at the age of 10 and opened the Marketplace in 2000. Miranda said he wants to bring the Latino and Mexican community together with the Anglo and Oregon community — work he has continued for the past 16 years.

"To me, we're all one," Miranda told the Tribune on Tuesday. "Hillsboro is a beautiful place … even discrimination here is not that bad."

Overcoming adversity, something experienced by many immigrants to the U.S., was the reason Miranda chose Frida Kahlo as the focal point of the paintings, he said.

"She was very successful despite having all odds against her," he said. "Frida stood out in a country led by men — by machismo."

Miranda said he believes the paintings, as well as the Marketplace itself, represent the same struggle for equality embodied by Kahlo throughout her career.

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTOS: CHASE ALLGOOD - Artist Felipe Gomez poses with his painting after unveiling it at the M&M Marketplace during the unveiling celebration of The Frida Project Saturday. Saturdays event was the first time that Gomez had ever shown his art in public. "Sometimes there is a tendency to segregate each other because we go to the places where we feel more comfortable," Miranda said at Saturday's unveiling. "At the end of the day, I think it's important that our community here embraces people who come here. I've been here long enough where I feel comfortable everywhere I go. That's hard to say for anybody who's coming to a new place, a new state, a new country. And sometimes, the challenge of adopting (culture) is not that easy.”

The paintings aren't for sale, and will remain on display at the Marketplace for all to enjoy, he said.

"We want the best for our community, for our kids in the future," he said. "And I think the future is with a community that embraces each other and helps each other."

By Travis Loose
Reporter, Hillsboro Tribune
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