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Our Stories are Ancient

Mt. San Jacinto College Art Gallery is pleased to present Rony Armas, Our Stories are Ancient.  In this ongoing photography series Armas explores how the symbols of our ancestors’ indigenous roots add to the richness of our individual contemporary stories.  

  • cielo
  • sol
  • aire
  • tierra
  • agua
  • fuego
  • luna
  • tiempo

Art Talk

Online ART TALK, Thursday Feb 24, 1 - 2 pm 
Sponsored by The MSJC Foundation

Series Description

I began this photographic series thirteen years ago in 2009 with friends, family, coworkers, and notable personalities. The intention was to explore indigenous roots through native symbols and design.  Each image is a collaboration where I as the photographer get to discover a piece of my own cultural curiosity and also demonstrate my reverence for the richness of each person’s story. The model contributes their life experience as captured by their eyes, skin, lips, and hair. Their faces are time capsules of all that came before along with their own unique addition for their progeny to add to and learn from. Each image begins with a symbol and as we look beyond the symbol and peer through the pane of glass the person is revealed, the product of ageless experience. The series is meant to honor and celebrate the rich diversity that comprises our world and evoke pride in our collective past. 

Artist Statement

I have always been entranced by the human face and the stories embedded in every laugh line, forehead wrinkle, or scar. The chasm of experience in a person’s eyes holds the ecstasy and angst, the vibrance and exhaustion, and the past, present, and future.  

More than happiness, more than passion, we must strive to find and express our truest potential rooted in the generations of ancestors that came before, imbuing us with all their knowledge and love. 

Our histories are rich, our stories are ancient.

Before there was nationalism or colonization there was community, family, art, music, and poetry. There were indigenous peoples and a connection with mother nature. 

In this digitally connected world, where we have the accumulated knowledge of humanity in our pockets and fingertips, we are somehow more disconnected than ever before, severed from each other by technology.

This series serves as a small reminder of where we came from and who we are, and our varied cultures. Sharing the pangs and triumphs and the beauty of our ancestors that has been dormant, awakened here in an image, for a moment. 

Getting in touch with our roots is such an important part of discovering and creating our identity. We are the accumulation of hundreds of generations, thousands of decisions, and millions of serendipitous yet fortuitous events. This is a series paying homage to all those who came before us and that live within us.

Artist Biography

A Los Angeles native, Rony Armas is a self-taught photographer who has pursued art, design, and videography as related fields. Rony began with an interest in documenting the world around him and soon discovered, through the influence of many wonderful people, that his interest could be furthered as an artistic and commercial medium. The need to tell a story or evoke a feeling has been the driving force behind his work and is demonstrated in the diversity of his work from editorial to music to fine art photography. He is inspired by collaborations and admires other artists and their art forms. As a practicing professional, Mr. Armas has worked as an independent contractor in photography for 20 years, in graphic design for 17 years, in art direction for 10 years, and in video for 10 years.