Medium of Work:
The artwork of Havana, Cuba-based painter Sandra Dooley might most easily be categorized as “paintings,” but in addition to paint they contain all sorts of embellishments, from lace and other kinds of fabric, to buttons, and even silk flower petals.
Dooley’s mixed media paintings represent scenes from daily life, with an emphasis on things that matter most to her: pets, human interactions, and the relationship between mothers and daughters. The women represented in her work are distinguished by their thoughtful and reflective expressions. Some appear to float through space and time, lost in a “sueno,” or dream. Recycling old materials is commonplace for Cuban artists, and Dooley grew up watching her mother and grandmother bring new life into used objects by adding recycled elements. Through her art, she pays homage to their imagination and she hopes to inspire the next generation to see beauty in everyday items.
“For many years,” Dooley remarks, “I was just a regular housewife living in Santa Fe, a beautiful neighborhood in the outskirts of Havana.” All that changed when Dooley decided to focus full time on creative endeavors in her mid-30s. Using old lace, buttons, and even sequins—materials she had either inherited from relatives or collected herself for reuse—Dooley got to work creating her distinctively energetic, vividly colorful collage-style paintings; that was twenty years ago, and she shows no sign of stopping.