Photo Essay: Tony Peralta's "Rolos & Icons" Exhibit

Photo Essay: Tony Peralta's "Rolos & Icons" Exhibit

In places like the Dominican Republic and New York City’s Washington Heights, getting styled in hair rollers is a traditional beauty regimen and standard routine on Saturday afternoons.

One artist, Tony Peralta, is building on this concept with his original “Rolo & Icons” series. In it, the Uptown native reimagines iconic Latinas, such as Frida Kahlo, Lynda Carter (Yes! Wonder Woman is half-Mexican), Celia Cruz, Selena and even childhood favorite, Dora the Explorer, all with their hair perfectly coiled and ready for the dryer.

“I hope to make these figures more relatable and provide young women of color the opportunity to see themselves in these characters,” said Peralta to VIBE VIVA at the opening reception, Thursday (Oct. 29).

Peralta joined forces with 20 Grand Vodka and Saint Frida for the seven-day exhibition, which featured a unique Frida Kahlo-themed VIP dinner.

Presented by 20 Grand Vodka, the three-course dinner was prepared by Fadia Kader, founder of Saint Frida, alongside Chef Santana Caress Benitez. Each course featured her take on some of Frida's favorite dishes, including a mild fungi stew, braised octopus, forbidden black rice and beans, and Frida’s personal recipe for candied rose limes. Paired with handcrafted cocktails by 20 Grand's mixologists, the meal was a full sensory experience, with impeccable attention to detail.

The presentation as a whole was held in memory of Peralta’s late mother, Alsacia Ramirez, who passed earlier this year. Her strength inspired many of the pieces on view.

In the end, the growing collection inspired a much-needed conversation—an artist talk, moderated by yours truly—on colorism, identity complex within the Latino community, and defying Eurocentric standards of beauty and art.

For more information on the Peralta Project and "Rolos & Icons" visit here.

Main Image Credit: Johnny Utah