The Owner's Story
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Mr. Santos arrived in 1998 from Guatemala, Quetzaltenango. They chose Michigan for opportunities for a better life. They have been here in the Burton Heights community since 1998. They started the business in 2009 and bought the building in 2022. At first it was just a bakery but over time, the same clientele who asked about a Guatemalan store decided to open the store and restaurant. They are happy to serve the Burton Heights community.
Owner's Connection To GR, Thoughts on Liberation, Reclamation
It can mean, feel free to a point. Recognizing that in the society we live in we are not completely safe. A moment of release was when we finished a bank mortgage. That moment gave release from worry. Having good health is a form of liberation where we are not oppressed by disease.
Demanding our rights. Take space in the community to represent our culture. The restaurant is a place where people can live together and share culture. Additionally our food gives a sense of family home.
About the Artist
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I am a self taught artist located in Michigan. I go by the name Lanati, I tend to gravitate towards bright colors, stylized portraits, abstract, illustrative and surrealistic art. I’m drawn to Acrylic paint the most because of its natural vibrancy however most of my work is mixed media or digital. My love for art started very young, I come from coloring on my bedroom walls as a toddler, to then filling up every notebook in sight with doodles, and soon after upgrading to sketchbooks. In High School, it was my AP art class that inspired me to take my passion seriously. I realized I had a unique style I could nurture. I studied art for a couple years at Western Michigan but quickly realized my artistic vision did not align with what they had to offer. Since then I’ve been creating art that represents who I am, the legacy I want to leave behind, and overall self expression.
Growing up studying art I always noticed the lack of representation of black and brown people in famous historical paintings. I never wondered why because I knew why, but I knew I had the ability to create the art that I wanted to see in the world, entertaining the wild thought that it would resonate. Creating characters that look like me and those around me gives me a sense of purpose, heals my inner child, and adds life to a world that can seem so draining but also in desperate need of love and understanding.
ARTIST'S CONNECTION TO GR, THOUGHTS ON LIBERATION, RECLAMATION
Liberation to me is the ability to live life freely without the feeling of being under anything’s authoritative control or power; Something I can confidently say we have never really experienced.
Reclamation to me means taking our power back; To be fully present in this divide we face and own our roles proudly so that we can create a resilient, powerful, liberated society.