Aniyah Toro is a creative, hardworking and increasingly bold teenager. The Huntington High School sophomore is studying with art teacher Kasmira Mohanty and is rapidly attracting new admirers who appreciate her sensational digital art.
Ms. Toro recently had one of her pieces chosen for the Long Island’s Best exhibit at the Heckscher Museum of Art. Nearly 400 pieces were submitted for consideration by the top young artists in Nassau and Suffolk, but only 80 were picked for the show.
The sophomore is a fine student. Her classes include honors level courses in English, chemistry and algebra. A member of Huntington’s Art Honor Society chapter, Ms. Toro considers the time she spends with Ms. Mohanty in the graphics art room to be one of the highlights of her day.
“In eighth grade we did a project on different careers and graphic design really interested me,” Ms. Toro said. “So I was super excited to hear they had a class based on computer art in the high school and I decided to take it.”
Ms. Toro came to the Huntington School District as a fourth grader. “I think the Huntington art program offers a lot of opportunities, especially for students who want to pursue art as a career,” she said. “There are many types of art classes, such as drawing and painting, photography and digital art, which is good.”
The sophomore and her art mentor have really hit it off. “I think Mrs. Mohanty is a great teacher,” Ms. Toro said. “She is very informative and cares a lot about all of her students. She is definitely our biggest fan and encourages us think outside the box.”
The teenager is already thinking about the future. “I don’t have any specific colleges in mind, but as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I’m not sure what category of art I want to pursue, but I do really enjoy computer graphics and drawing and painting.”
The piece exhibited by Ms. Toro at the Heckscher Museum is called Silent Heroes. It’s an eye-catching piece of digital art and is something that is truly ingenious. When you read her artist’s statement you realize how deep her artistic thought-process runs.
“My inspiration for Silent Heroes was Lillian Dodson’s painting, Earth Skin,” wrote Ms. Toro in her artist’s statement that accompanied her work at the museum. “Her strategic use of line and shape made the painting appear to me a bit like camouflage. The more I looked at the painting it did become camouflage. I began thinking about the purpose of camouflage. It’s meant to hide what’s underneath it. That made me think of the soldiers who wear camouflage. They become nameless, faceless statistics and numbers under the cover of the uniform. Many soldiers once they take the uniform off struggle a great deal emotionally to acclimate back into society. That thought really disturbed me. Based on these thoughts I decided to create a series of identical faceless soldiers. Arranging them in a cookie cutter factory line is my way of expressing the how our veterans are sometimes seen as disposable and replaceable. Afterwards I re-illustrated Dodson’s painting. I took my re-illustration and broke it down into sections filling each soldier’s uniform with a different color scheme based on the colors of the original painting. This is my attempt at giving a portion of each soldier’s identity back to them.”