On May 12, 2022, Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino (FRIENDS) announced Fatima Olea as the winner of its 11th Annual Design Contest. Fatima Olea is an illustrator from Arizona and won for her submission titled A little bird told me, pictured above.
““Keep dreaming, but never stop painting” — It’s what I keep telling myself everyday. Today, one of my dreams came true when my piece, “A Little Bird Told Me” won the FRIENDS annual design contest,” Olea says. “This is a great opportunity to share what I do and inspire Latinos to feel proud of themselves and embrace their history and culture. It’s important to see our future National Museum of the American Latino built on the National Mall to share with the world the many things our culture has to offer, promote acceptance and welcome people to our community.”
Olea said the acrylic on canvas painting “talks about heritage, culture, and how it’s been passed [down] generation by generation like the whispering of a little bird that carries all that wisdom from our ancestors.” Olea continued, “The girl is not showing her face to keep the mystery of the spectators but at the same time to invite them to identify themselves with the painting.”
For 11 consecutive years, FRIENDS has organized a design contest and invited artists from across the country to share their talent with the Latino community. This year, FRIENDS invited artists to share their vision of what the future National Museum of the American Latino will look like on the National Mall. FRIENDS received over 250 submissions from artists across the United States and Puerto Rico. The FRIENDS 2022 Design Contest’s Finalists drew almost 2000 votes throughout the public voting period with Olea’s design earning the highest number.
“Fatima’s design artistically captures the beauty and richness of our Latino heritage and culture. The colors she used are vibrant, lively, and symbolize the 500 years of Latino contributions that deserve to be on the National Mall with the rest of our nation’s history,” said Estuardo V. Rodriguez, President & CEO of FRIENDS. “We are grateful to Fatima and every artist who submitted a design to help tell the Smithsonian leadership to build the National Museum of the American Latino on the National Mall — specifically on the South Monument Site, on the corner of 14th St and Independence Avenue SW. Thank you to our sponsors, AARP and Target Corporation, for their continued support to make this year’s design contest a success.”
Olea won a $500 Target gift card for her design. Olea’s design will be at the center of FRIENDS’ 2022 campaign materials, including posters, digital imagery, and other materials to support advocacy efforts to secure the best location for the future National Museum of the American Latino on the National Mall.
The 2022 Design Contest was made possible by FRIENDS partners AARP and Target Corporation’s generous support.