Representation is very important.

Posted on Oct 2, 2018

How do you battle stereotypes...how about with spray paint? That’s what local artist Roshi K. does all around Austin, covering walls with what community members have called “beautiful brown goddesses.”

“One thing that I always saw in art history were the same white features. At the end of the day, what I really try to do is just oppose the European standard for ‘this is what is beautiful.’”

The roots of East Austin are strongly tied to the people of color who used to predominantly make up the neighborhood. Roshi’s murals in this part of town not only provide joyful pops of color, but also serve as a reminder to locals that there’s still brown in the area.

“To me, it’s kind of throwing my voice into the pop culture pot, showcasing characters that are not the stereotypes or the tropes. I think it is exponentially valuable to have channels like KLRU to introduce a diverse group of artists and musicians and performing artists to the next generation of children. I think a show like Arts In Context is important just for that.”

Roshi has lived across the United States, on both coasts, and Hawaii, and her broad influences come across in her fanciful, contemporary pieces. From a young age, doodles and sketches filled her school notebooks, and when she realized people were excited about her art, Roshi knew she had a talent worth embracing. And now she shares her gift every day with strangers who pass by her painted walls.

“I think that art can connect us to our neighbors. I think it gives you something to maybe even talk about. At the very least, it gives someone a reason to smile.”

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Interested in checking out more art in Central Texas? Watch an array of diverse creatives on KLRU’s locally produced Arts In Context, with a special “Art Of Dia De Los Muertos” episode airing October 30 at 10 p.m. You can also hear more from Roshi in her own AIC episode “Today, I Gave The World A Flower.”

A new season of Austin City Limits just kicked-off, with upcoming performances from St. Vincent, Trombone Shorty, Janelle Monae, Khalid, Residente and many more.

And don’t miss the debut of Considering Matthew Shepard on the 20th anniversary of his murder. This inspiring documentary follows Grammy-winning choral group Conspirare as they tell Matthew’s story in a unique production that uses music, poetry and interviews. Airs October 12 at 8 p.m. with a second broadcast on October 16 at 10:30 p.m.