Johanna Toruño is Unapologetically Brown and Proud of It
Although born in San Salvador, Johanna Toruño is a true New Yorker, more impressively, a twenty-nine year old queer New York City street artist of color. A self-taught visual artist who has been using the streets of NYC as her public art gallery and calling for unity on matters that affect families and sexual orientations. Through her poster art she is delivering powerful, poetic messages of community, heritage and activism that touches not only her ethnicity group, but all POC. She calls her work the “Unapologetically Brown Series”, putting up posters throughout various neighborhoods in New York City to bring attention to conditions that are dividing communities, in turn she hopes to build solidarity. The poster series is her microphone to voice her position on various hot topic political issues in America. Also through this creativity, she is becoming a leader for those who cannot have a voice, Toruño is placing all that emotion and concerns on paper for people to take notice.
“I am led by community, my ancestors, and the elders before me who have paved the way for me to do the work that I do. The Black women & femmes who have created culture- The Queer POC who continually pave the way for all of us. I do this work as my place in this revolution of self taught game changers.”
Her newest project takes on more of a storytelling form with a zine called The House in Long Island, depicting the love story between Toruño and her partner. The zine is well received and selling well, proving to Toruño the need and importance of young queers being represented in the media. As told to Nylon, “I wasn't taught love, and a lot of the things that I feel like queer youth struggles with is because we don't see a lot of that," Toruño said. “We don't see it on TV very often, and film; and when we do, a lot of the times it's, like, a really fucked up stereotype."
We hope that Toruño continues to promote spirit and pride into queer communities and to people of color. Her work is inspiring and hopefully driving other youths to take to the streets or social media and use their creative power to stand up to local and global issues of all kinds.