¨Expressing myself through my art has been my salvation. For me it is essential to be able to continue transmitting a message in what I do. It is my way of saying “I was here. I passed by here.”, like a graffiti on an old bench, or a public bathroom, for the world to see, understand, and hopefully influence someone, somewhere, as many mentors before have influence me through their art.
Mayra Moreno was born In the city of Anton, Panama on April 12th 1977, the youngest out of three daughters. At the age of 3, Mayra and her family moved to the province of Darien in the rainforest, this experience is clearly present in her works. Despite the socio-political conflicts of her home country at the age of 16 she taught herself to read and write in English, graduating high school the following year with a specialty in writing.
Mayra dabbled in other fields of work before concentrating on being an artist. Not knowing what she wanted to do in life, Moreno, worked in retail sales, telephone sales, and as a hotel desk clerk. In her early twenties she began work as a Geriatric Nursing Assistant at the Calvert County Nursing Center Prince Fredrick in Maryland. She was the only one in her class to pass(Excel) the State licensing examination on the first attempt.
She married in 1997, and in the year that followed her first daughter was born. In 1999 she and her family moved to Puerto Rico beginning the first of many international stops abroad. In the early 2000’s Mayra moved to the Kingdom of Bahrain where her second daughter was born and Mayra began to branch out into the creative field by writing short children’s stories. In 2007, Mayra began taking painting classes with Andrea Sibilla, a Chilean painter.
In 2013, at the age of 36, she earned her degree in fine arts from the National Institute of Culture, INAC-Panama.
Her first composition, “From Hats and Drums” shows the figures of two small drums (souvenirs from her country) and a Panamanian hat. She reversed the original size of the objects in the composition, making the hat larger than the drums. This piece became the first in an ongoing thematic series of still lives. Her first completed series: “Tribute to Meme” is composed of 16 paintings based on a popular Panamanian poem: “A Cumbia Incident”. The works show the inception of Mayra’s current artistic style, along with thematic depth is handling socio-political issues such as femicide. “Tribute to Meme” began as an idea for a thesis project while pursuing her degree as a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ganexa – Panama University. (2013-2016). It evolved into a socially aware, figurative expressionist body of work centred on the visual exploration of emotion, the dissecting of patriarchal literature, and the societal view of women.