— by Jordan Cameron, Marketing & Communications Specialist
A closeup photo of Carolina Marín Hernández enclosed in a circle graphic made of a gradient of the Moore brand colors (green, turqoise, yellow, orange, light blue)

The Happy Fernandez Leadership Prize is awarded to a graduating senior who has demonstrated exemplary leadership qualities during their time at Moore. The endowed prize is named after Happy Fernandez, who served as president of the College for 13 years and had a particular focus on developing leadership programming, scholarships and fellowships to prepare the artists and designers educated at Moore to be leaders in their fields. 

Hear about Carolina Marín Hernández’s plans for the monetary gift below. 

My name is Carolina Marín Hernández (She/Ella) and I received a BFA in Fine Arts with a minor in Art History. I was born in Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia and relocated to New York City before settling in Philadelphia! 

I was honored to be the 2022 recipient of the Happy Fernandez Leadership Prize! It was truly humbling and affirming to have received the leadership prize as it recognizes my role as a community advocate. I hope to continue Happy’s legacy by building a stronger community through advocacy and empowerment. 

My thesis is an exploration of self-identity and liberation within the social, cultural and racial parameters which exist within Latinidad. I am interested in recontextualizing the histories imposed on pre-colonial artwork and oral histories, specifically those endemic to western South America. Rather than restricting my experiences as a Brown person to an identity rooted in eurocentrism, I aim to look at the potential of creating an “impossible” space in which myself and others may begin to deconstruct the construct of Latinidad. My installation is a recognition, exploration and acceptance of a constant state of racial and cultural indeterminacy.

A "Passport-style" photo of a brightly colored sculpture by Hernandez titled "Chiripiorca" with an orange body and turquoise facial features. The shoulders are covered with a woven material.

I will continue my work as a community educator and organizer as a special project coordinator for a biliteracy program developed by the Barnes Foundation and Puentes de Salud. My interest in community engagement as an artistic practice has led me to collaborate with Proyecto Grandote on a mural installation as well. I also hope to continue my studio practice and develop my knowledge of all things ceramics and weaving! 

This award will support my trip to Colombia where I will conduct research on indigenous weaving and dyeing practices! I will also reconnect to my ancestral lands and learn the oral histories kept by my community in Valle del Cauca. 

My advice to future Moore students is: do not be afraid to take up space! The only way to create a more inclusive, inviting space is to advocate for our underserved communities. Know that if a system or systems do not suit your needs, you have the power to change it! Liberation is possible by creating sustainable communities which welcomes all. 

Images courtesy of the artist.