Digital artist Favianna Rodriguez transforms narrative on migrant rights

Emelie Knobloch

Favianna Rodriguez said she wants to really address and call out patriarchy as a woman.

Rodriguez, a breakout digital artist and cultural organizer, came to Iowa State to spread the word about her creative way of fighting for migrant, gay and women’s rights.

Rodriguez’s “How Artists Are Transforming the Narrative on Immigration and Equality” addressed topics such as abortion, gay rights and virginity.

“I want to celebrate myself as being a raw woman,” Rodriguez said.

Her lecture was co-sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Design, the Latino Heritage Month Planning Committee, Multicultural Student Affairs, Multicultural Student Programming Advisory Council and Committee on Lectures, which is funded by the Government of the Student Body.

“To be an artist and creative is great, but to also promote social justice and publicly and in today’s society, is truly courageous,” said Adele Lozano, coordinator for retention of Multicultural Student Affairs.

Rodriguez became famous for her bold posters related to war, immigration, globalization and social movements.

“I got tired of wishing I could see myself in movies and ads without being sexualized or stereotypically as a gangster’s girlfriend because of the color of my skin,” Rodriguez said.

Her unique form of expression has won her many awards including a 2005 “Art Is A Hammer” award from the Center for the Study of Political Graphics and the 2012 Emerging Leader Award from the Chicana Latina Foundation.

However, digital poster art is only one of several works she is involved in today.

Rodriguez is the director of Culture Strike, a national arts organization promoting writers, artists and performers to become active in the fight for migrant rights.

Rodriguez also helped start, a national online network dedicated to the political empowerment of Latino communities. has fought to remove news anchors that depict immigrants in what it considers a negative way, such as Lou Dobbs from CNN who resigned in 2009 after heated protests.

Rodriguez is co-editor of “Reproduce & Revolt,” a collection of political graphics from more than a dozen countries. The mission of the book is to show the reader artists around the world are addressing pressing issues such as labor rights, gender inequality and globalization, according to Rodriguez’s website.

As a part of Latino Heritage Month Celebration, Rodriquez has been traveling the United States to lead art workshops at various schools. The workshop she coordinates is entitled “Migration is Beautiful: Butterfly Art Workshop” and is centered on Rodriguez’s well-known graphic work “Migration is Beautiful.”

The mission of Rodriguez’s workshop is to teach student how the butterfly has become a symbol for migrant rights according to the ISU Lectures Program website. Students in attendance will also make their own butterfly.

She will be giving her workshop for Iowa State students 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, in the Workspace in the Memorial Union.