Arroyo is a Puerto Rican artist, sculptor and printmaker.

Arroyo describes her work being ‘devoted to exploring the connections between the African Continent and the Diaspora’…. ‘My artistic process has been informed by these journey and my research, aimed at reclaiming my spiritual and cultural heritage.

Drawing extensively on the symbolism, language and traditions of the Yoruba people, Arroyo is inspired by the idea of art as a form of spiritual healing. This resonates strongly with me as I work as an arts for health practitioner and see the benefits of the arts as a means of expression, healing and achieving inner peace on a daily basis. I am inspired by Arroyo’s belief in the imbuing of art with spirit (‘Ashe’) that has the power to heal.

Arroyo’s work is strong and powerful. It speaks eloquently of the struggles of the disempowered – the many peoples subjected to slavery and oppression. The use of monochrome or limited colour gives visual impact to her prints.

I find her collograph work, Ancestors of the Passage particularly powerful. As the ‘backdrop’ to a 54-piece sculptural installation, Arroyo sensitively restricts her colour palette to black, white and blue. Using print texture to differentiate between the many people who are, to their enslavers, objects, commodities, ‘cargo’, she shows that they are in reality, a body of individuals, each with their own unique identity.

The Legacy prints are also interesting as they combine woodcut print onto fabric with traditional Kente Adinkra cloth – cloth stamped using bark dye in traditional, symbolic images and patterns.

Arroyo’s work can be found at her website here:

It is my intent to create Art that is a kind of medicine used to can heal the deep-seated collective wounds of history and to can celebrate the vibrancy and relevance of the legacy of those that came before me us.” Imna Arroyo

Imna Arroyo. (2017). Imna Arroyo. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Apr. 2017]. (2017). Welcome to Adire AfricanTextiles Resouces Section. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Apr. 2017].

Influence on my own work

I find Arroyo’s use of limited colour and strong lines very expressive. It shows how strong feelings and emotions can be conveyed with simple shapes and a restricted colour palette and that complexity and detail is not always necessary to achieve the desired impact (and can indeed detract from the desired outcome). My prints have tended to be over-complicated and as a result too fussy and untidy. I shall be taking inspiration from these prints in creating future prints of my own, to ‘de-clutter’ and simplify my use of line and imagery. The use of texture is also very interesting as a means of ‘identification’ and differentiation.