Rolos & Icons: New art by M.Tony Peralta, new music by Joan Soriano

By 26 October, 2015

In many cases, our first images of women and their beauty regimens are our own mothers. New York City -based artist, M. Tony Peralta, is paying homage to his late mother and many of the women he grew up around in the northern Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights and his ancestral homeland of the Dominican Republic.

“Donning hair rollers, or rolos for Spanish-speakers … is a common occurrence on a Saturday afternoon in the Dominican Republic”or neighborhoods like “the Heights,” it says in an artist statement for Peralta’s new exhibit, “Rolos & Icons,” which opens this Thursday, 29th of October, in New York’s Lower East Side, 103 Allen Street, from 7 – 9 p.m. (The exhibit runs until 4th of November.)

“Rolos & Icons” is a collection of screen-printed paintings of powerful and iconic Latin women through history sporting rolos. The series is inspired by an earlier piece Peralta created in 2010, “Doña Con Rolos,” which features a Dominican woman in hair rollers, gazing and smiling at the camera.

The new series demonstrates iconic Latinas, such as Frida Kahlo, Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman), Celia Cruz, La Lupe, Selena Quintanilla, and even Dora the Explorer, with their hair styled in rollers and ready to go under a hair dryer. He hopes these images will make these figures more relatable, and provide young women of color an opportunity to see themselves in these characters. Learn more about M. Tony Peralta and shop his work over at his website and Facebook.

Another Dominican artist, this one of the music variety, also pays homage to Dominican women who don rollers in his latest release.

Roots bachatero Joan Soriano‘s, new album, “Me decidi,” features a woman con rolos for the record’s artwork.


Soriano, who fashioned his first guitar from a can of cooking oil, grew up on a family farm in a rural country side near Santo Domingo, and later spent time in Villa Mella, a rough shod Santo Domingo suburb where bachata is the lingua franca. There, he  honed a country style bachata with a grit that is a far cry from the smooth R&B-bachata fusion popularized by New York City based bachateros like ex-Aventura singer, Romeo Santos.

Me decidí” (out on iASO Records) solidifies Soriano’s place as ambassador of roots bachata. The steel string mambos punctuate swinging bass lines and Latin percussion riffs – there’s no mistaking the Caribbean earthiness in his music. Entwined with dance beats is a nostalgia that earned bachata the name “Música de amargue” or “The music of bitterness.”

Me decidi” cameos New York based bachatera, André Veloz, and features Joan’s siblings Fernando and Griselda as guest vocalists. Grab the single here. New Yorkers can catch a performance by Soriano at Carnegie Hall in January.

Watch a video for “Tus Cartas Llegan” (also on the album) below. As is Soriano’s style, it’s filled with simplicity and tradition, featuring couples dancing to bachata in front of a bodega in the Dominican Republic.

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