Kid Idols! Inocente Izucar Shows Kids How to Truly Persevere
“It’s not just a painting,” Inocente Izucar says. “People should know there’s a story.”
That story came to the forefront in 2013, when a short documentary about her life won the Academy Award. While that was a few years back, her life is more topical now than ever: Inocente is unique, but her homelessness and her undocumented status is not.
Inocente’s whimsical, vividly colorful paintings are inspired by the hardship of her homeless upbringing in San Diego, CA., abuse at the hands of her father, and the alienation inherent in belonging to a family whose illegal immigrant status prohibits easy entry to the coveted American Dream. Color is her personal revolution and its sweep across her canvases helped her to create a world that looks nothing like her own dark past.
The documentary introduces 15-year-old Inocente at a moment in her life when everything is about to change. Not only is she moving into a teen homeless shelter all by herself, but she is preparing for her very first art exhibition. The exhibit, facilitated by the arts mentorship program A Reason To Survive (ARTS), just might be her ticket to success.
As it turns out, it was. Inocente never gave up pursuing her art and her dreams, no matter how bleak things got: She once talked her alcoholic mother out of a murder-suicide pact; she never stayed in one place for more than three months and often was forced to sleep on the streets; she lived in constant fear of deportation; she had bullies who plagued her at school for her offbeat, bohemian look; and she had fears and doubts about making it as an artist. Inocente persevered, despite the odds and now her paintings are selling well enough for her to rent an apartment and continue pursuing art (paint, brushes, canvases, and frames are not cheap).
Inocente launched her own website called Inocente Art, where fans can buy her pieces. She donates 30 percent of the proceeds to ARTS: A Reason To Survive. “They basically saved my life and I've been here forever and I plan to stay here for a long time so it's nice to be able to help the way they helped me,” she says.
She’s a true inspiration and idol for all artistic kids, and a wonderful role model who stood on the world’s stage accepting her Academy Award without falling prey to her parents’ legacy. She keeps on moving ahead. Inocente’s journey reminds kids to look beyond temporary situations, and to see the value in everyone.
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