‘Wait for me’: Teen’s experience inspires beautiful paintings, honors heritage

Painter Britney Garibay is using her talent to break stigmas and defy stereotypes by increasing social awareness around her culture through images.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.

One local artist is painting new perspectives and redefining stereotypes about her heritage.

Britney Garibay is using art to make a difference.

“I’m doing this for my family - and for their family - and for the past generations that ever existed before us,” said Garibay.

She is an 18-year-old first-generation Mexican American who is inspiring thousands to embrace their heritage through paintings.

“Every day I get beautiful messages from people that are like, ‘Thank you for making the work that you do.’ and ‘Thank you because this reminded me that there’s hope that someday I’ll see my father again, that someday are people will make it, that someday we will grow out what people think of us. That we are much more than just the Mexicans, we are much more than illegals, border jumpers, dirty people you know.’ And that’s when I know that what I’m doing is right,” said Garibay.

Garibay started painting as a little girl and went to Douglas Anderson School of the Arts.

Her art journey changed when her stepfather was deported when she was in the 8th grade.

The piece titled “Wait for Me” was birthed from that painful experience.

“It embodied that moment of sentiment. Because it that moment I got to hug him for the last time before he had left. So, it was really sad because I was there when it happened like I witnessed the entire thing. That’s like a piece that has my full sentimental value. Like I put every single piece of my soul into that piece, " said Garibay. “I myself had to push myself away from my own culture. It was just that whole trying to fit in, trying to be white-washed, as they say. But I think for artists especially having complete control over your identity and your culture and using that as inspiration is the most powerful thing.”

Other pieces like “Forgotten Farmers”, “Mexican from el Corazón” - a self-portrait, and many more have gained Garibay’s attention on TikTok.

She now has nearly 28,000 followers watching her journey.

A journey that’s paying homage to generations of sacrifice.

“I think I can say this for a lot of first-generation kids, there’s always like this kind of weight on your back that you have to carry. That like you have to make all the of your parents, or your guardians or just your family, in general, like their sacrifices worth it,” said Garibay.

Painting through the pain, to show those sacrifices weren’t in vain.

“It’s just like you want to try your best to give them that life that they could never achieve. So even just me being in college here, me being at this school which is the #1 college for art, it’s just like a huge honor for not only me but for my parents. I know they feel that everything they’ve ever sacrificed, is worth it,” said Garibay.

Honoring culture and heritage through the brush strokes - in hopes that pride is birthed from these images.

She is currently a freshman at Rhode Island School of Art and Design, a very prestigious art school.

You can find Garibay on Tik Tok/ Instagram: @bmg_arts .

A gallery of some of Garibay’s paintings is featured below.