Manuel Solano’s Captivating Portraits of Powerful Women


The power of memory and personal experiences is so deeply rooted in an artist's work. This is especially true for Manuel Solano’s (they/them/theirs) portraits of women from pop culture and their family. After gradually becoming blind, they discovered a technique allowing them to create purely from memory. The subjects that they portray are powerful women they recall having impacted them in a specific way. Over the summer, Solano debuted Oronda at Berlin’s Open Forum which featured portraits of two of their aunts, Nicki Minaj, and Meryl Streep’s character from The Devil Wears Prada. The artist’s work challenges the patriarchal lens through which women are often viewed and features levels of depth into the women painted.


Who are the powerful women in your life that you look up to? If you were to depict them in any way (art, poetry, etc), how would you do so?

Further Reading

Discover the portraits from the exhibition Oronda depicting strong female characters from Solano’s life.

Action Item

Write down 3-5 women who made a strong impact on your life. Describe in a sentence or two the influence they had on you and the memories you have of them.

Read more on ArtNews Image: Manuel Solano, Miranda, 2018, Painting – Acrylic on canvas, 140 x 115 cm