Altina Schinasi, born in 1907 in New York City to a wealthy Sephardic Jewish family, defied societal expectations to become an acclaimed artist and a vocal activist. She challenged both gender and racial norms of her time, creating striking artwork and fighting for the rights of marginalized communities. With her unique perspective and relentless determination, Schinasi left an indelible mark on the art world and played a pivotal role in advocating for social change.

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Schinasi first gained recognition as a designer, particularly for her innovative invention of the Harlequin glasses in the 1930s. These iconic spectacles, shaped like a butterfly, became a fashion statement and a symbol of modernity. Schinasi’s innovative design reflected her artistic vision, blending beauty and functionality.

Despite her initial success in the world of design, Schinasi felt a compelling need to explore her true passion – art. Rejecting societal expectations and the confines of conventionally accepted norms for women, she embarked on a journey to establish herself as a serious artist. Through her paintings, sculptures, and collages, Schinasi expressed her inner world, often incorporating themes of identity, love, and social justice.

!Altina Schinasi's Artwork(

Schinasi’s artwork captivated viewers with its vibrant colors, intricate compositions, and thought-provoking messages. She was heavily influenced by the surrealist movement and drew inspiration from her diverse background and experiences. Her work often explored the complexities of human emotions, challenging viewers to confront uncomfortable truths and contemplate the broader social issues of the time.

In addition to her artistic pursuits, Altina Schinasi was deeply committed to social activism. She used her platform and privilege to advocate for causes close to her heart, particularly racial equality and women’s rights. Schinasi actively participated in civil rights demonstrations, including the 1963 March on Washington where she stood alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other prominent activists.

!Altina Schinasi at March on Washington(

Schinasi’s dedication to social justice extended beyond her presence at protests. She generously donated her artwork and financial resources to various organizations fighting for racial and gender equality. She believed that art had the power to inspire and promote change, and she utilized her talent to amplify the voices of those marginalized by the dominant society.

Altina Schinasi’s impact was not limited to her lifetime. Her artwork continues to resonate with audiences today, and her activism paved the way for future generations of artists and advocates. Her commitment to exploring social issues through art serves as a reminder of the power of creativity in driving social change.