Where Art and Social Change Converge

Light Attracts Light : Our Talk With 7oveChild

By Shibani Dagalur

For Art Against Racism, working with Marlon Davila, aka “7ovechild”, has been a phenomenal experience. His ground-breaking work has been featured in several of our exhibits, including “Beyond Freedom,” hosted at Morven Museum and Garden in Princeton.  In our exclusive interview with Marlon, he dives deep into his connection with his Guatemalan heritage and how it has impacted his work.

Shibani: [01:01:29] So you touched a little bit lately on how you are really passionate about your culture and your heritage. So how exactly have you incorporated your heritage into your art? [01:01:39][10.0]

Marlon: [01:01:44] Well, so I’m first-generation Guatemalan. So, you know, it was a little bit of a struggle for me when I was a little kid because I was different. There were not a lot of kids that were my color or with my heritage back then. Oh, it was a bit of a struggle. But then I found my way and I loved it. And it inspires me today because to be an artist, I feel like you got to explore the kid within. So when I saw the kid within, I just could create anything. So being first generation in America, I kind of didn’t know much about my heritage, which is from Guatemala, you know, the Mayans. And so I’m fascinated by the Mayans, and I just can’t believe that I neglected it for such a long time. And now I feel like it’s very important to, you know, research it to learn about it? And they’re very interesting. They’re connected with the cosmos. And that’s how they were able to build their image. So that inspires me. All that inspires me. Whatever inspires me, I put on, you know, they’re like my muse. And I put it on a canvas and I tell a story. [01:03:26][102.5] 

Shibani: [01:12:23] Is there any final pieces of advice you’d have for aspiring artists or people who just want to make civic change because, you know, Art Against Racism. It’s all about using your own outlets and your own creativity to make civic change and inspire societal justice. Right? So do you have any advice for any people who are trying to do that? [01:12:45][22.0]

Marlon:  [01:12:46] So the key the key thing that I would recommend to all the young artists who are, you know, loving to create is definitely, you know, give that time to dedicate to yourself, to know yourself, to know your essence, to know your color of your skin. To embrace it. To love it. To nourish it. To be creative because we all have it inside of us. And this is the thing where I’m at right now with civil action, with the injustices that are going on in the world. What happened to me is that I was focusing too much on that, that something happened that I started getting a little bit depressed about it. Right. The press, because, you know, sometimes it feels like we fight and, you know, we try to prove that, you know, equality, you know. But I found out that, you know, the way to do that is to go inwards and to love thyself by yourself. If you’re that light, then, light attracts light. So we start, you know, if you start doing great things for the world, for yourself first and then you start doing great things for the world, then it’s contagious. And then we also do it. And that’s why I think art is the key. Art is the key because through creativity, through poems, through video, photography, whatever it is, if we stick together, we can create this beautiful vibe, you know, where we can all thrive. And there’s no such thing as competition because we all have room here. [01:14:38][49.6]