Tell Me your Dreams: An Impression of Immigrants' Hope

Cuéntame Tus Sueños: Impresiones de la esperanza de los inmigrantes


THE PRoject:

As a Costa Rican born and schooled artist, Marité Vidales immigrated to the US and became a naturalized US citizen, residing in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area since 1989.  For nearly 25 years, she has dedicated her life both to painting and raising a family. 

As an immigrant and artist, she has a personal understanding of what it means to start a new life in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Through her expressionist style artwork, she wishes to portray the life experiences of everyday immigrants to the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, who have overcome great obstacles and challenges to start a new life in the US. 

Based on interviews and photographs, Marité produces paintings depicting their impressions of the people and their life experiences and visions for the future.  The paintings are biographical, symbolic or abstract depending on the perceptions.  Proceeds from the sale of the artwork will be donated to the Community Ministries of Rockville (CMR) Latino Outreach Program and other charitable organizations, which provide important community services.

This project aims to increase an appreciation for art as a way of addressing social causes, and to support people and institutions like the CMR that help the disadvantaged improve their lives. 

The Dreams:

 Local Hispanic immigrants, who have been helped by the CMR programs, have been interviewed by the artist to learn about their hopes and expectations of life in the US.

·        What are their dreams?

·        How do they imagine themselves in dreams and reality?

·        What are their hobbies, sports, and pastimes?

·        What do they do for a living?

·        What do they believe in?

·        What memories do they keep from their countries of origin?

The Interviews:

To date, approximately twenty immigrants have been interviewed.  They all have been very willing to participate and to share their life experiences.  This is their way to repay CMR for all of the benefits they received from their programs.  A sample of the interviews include: 


Luisa - A young Peruvian from the Province of Cajamarca in her early twenties.  She came alone to the US three years ago.  She lives and works with an American family in Montgomery County, Maryland.  She misses her family.  Her dream is to study medicine, although she knows that it will be hard to reach. Her first step is to become fluent in English. This she hopes to achieve through the CMR program. She craves ceviche and the cherimoya fruit; she likes turquoise; and prefers daylight to night.


Luz of El Salvador.  She came to the US as a youth, twenty-three years ago. She since married and has two teenage children.  She likes to help people, and has worked as a caregiver, cleaning houses, and as a school aide.  Her dream is to have a house again, and to see her children succeed in life.  She likes penguins, and has a large collection of their figures.  The death of uncle, who was like a father, has marked her for life.  She loves to read, especially Latin American authors, such as Garcia Marquez, Vargas Llosa, and Isabel Allende.  It fuels her vast imagination. She misses her people in El Salvador, the food, and eating barbeques on the beach.  She enjoys the flavors of avocado and coconut. 

Ruben and Rosa – a married couple from the Dominican Republic.  Ruben came to New York City almost thirty years ago.  He  loves NY, and would die for the Yankees and the Giants.  He and his family have settled happily in Rockville where he hopes to see his children enter professional careers.  Ruben met and married Rosa in Santo Domingo.  Rosa came to the US with him in 1994.  Before meeting Ruben, she had dreams in which the Statue of Liberty whispered to her to come to the US.  So upon marrying Ruben, she was very anxious to see her dream come true. They lived in New York City in very poor conditions.  Their first-born son suffered from kidney disease from age four due to eating lead paint from the walls of their apartment. With their family’s faith, medical attention, and the donated organ of his aunt, the child later recuperated fully.  Rosa studied cosmetology and ports management in her country.  But her dream was to be a social worker.  Today, she devotes her time as a health care promoter to educate in preventing cancer.  She misses her friends and family in the Dominican Republic. But she is happy living here with her husband and children. She believes this is a country of opportunities. 

Maria Carmen and Dolores - Maria Carmen is six years old; her sister Dolores is seven.  They play at the daycare room while their parents from El Salvador study English in the CMR Latino Outreach Program.  Maria Carmen dreams of being a ballerina, while Dolores wants to be a chef.   They enjoy flying kites, jumping rope, riding scooters and playing ball.  Maria Carmen likes to keep her room clean.  She enjoys arroz con leche (rice pudding), cats, and all things pink.   Her sister likes daisies, pears and the color green.


Florencio - Florencio receives medical care at the Mansfield Kaseman Health Program.  He is originally from El Salvador , where he built a successful business growing and selling chestnuts.   He had a hardworking farming business which was interrupted by unfortunate events - his life threatening heart surgery and the sudden death of a 20 year old son.  These memories still cast a shadow on his life.  Today his greatest aspiration is to bring joy and success to his three other sons.  He is optimistic for a future full of opportunities and self improvement.  His favorite colors are green and sky blue.


Angel -  Angel is a diabetic who benefits from CMR health services.  He was a customs official in the Puerto del Callao Port in Peru .   He still has fond memories of walking along the coast and meeting with his friends and coworkers.   He came to Maryland with his wife to reunite with their two sons who had settled in the US years before them.   Angel has worked in a variety of hardware and paint retailers.  He is very happy living in the US . He believes that there many opportunities for employment here, and more so for younger people.  Angel insists, “Este es un país para gente joven.”  Angel sees a cheerful future, and looks forward to retiring and having more free time.   He likes oranges and believes that lemons have curative properties.


Mercedes - Mercedes was studying statistic and public administration at the university in Nicaragua during the 1980s - a tumultuous political period in that country’s history.   Escaping the war and violence, she moved to the US to live with her mother.   Mercedes’ husband died sevens ago.  She has worked hard in a hotel and currently at a supermarket deli to support her family. Mercedes has a daughter who is currently a student at the University of Maryland .  She is very proud of her daughter, and satisfied to have been able to support her daughter achieve her goals.   She aspires to help other young people develop and succeed in life.  The sound of rainfall is relaxing to her.  Mangos, roses and the color red are her favorites.  She is particularly inspired by the verses of Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario.  “Margarita está linda la mar…”


The lives of immigrants are represented through various symbols, such as butterflies, paper boats and roses.


The Monarch Butterfly, a symbol of freedom The Monarch Butterfly represents the natural beauty and cultures which connect Mexico, the United States and Canada. Although the butterfly has a short life span (4-5 weeks), the species migrates yearly a great distance. Its migration begins at the end of the summer. During the warm, summer months the Monarch Butterfly lives in the US and Canada. Towards the end of the summer, it begins its transnational winter migration journey to Central Mexico. They arrive in Michoacán on or around November 1st - on the Day of the Dead. The warm weather of central Mexico allows them to breed. In late March, they make the return journey north. The butterfly symbolizes the human soul in flight, lightness, freedom - many of the aspirations and hopes of immigrants.


The Departure, an interpretation of the Diaspora The divided lives of immigrants are represented through light, shadows, textures and lines. This image is the start of an immigrants' journey aboard a small paper boat. This small vessel signifies hope in spite of the risks and perils that lay ahead. Like cradles that carry the souls to be reborn in Egyptian mythology, the small vessel symbolizes a means of transition from one world to the next. These fragile paper boats support the weight of human dreams and aspirations, which may land upon failure or success.

The Rose, a symbol of Love and Sacrifice.  Like the heart, the core and the cosmic wheel, the rose is a sign of love and friendship. The blood red rose with its thorns is Sacrifice. The immigrants' journey is one of love and sacrifice to improve their families' lives. The offering a rose is a gesture of true friendship.


Featured Artist:

Marité Vidales. (

Born in San José, Costa Rica, graduated from the School of Fine Arts of the University of Costa Rica.  For over 20 years, Marité has exhibited throughout United States, Costa Rica and Germany.  Her work reflects a passion for symbols and colors.



The Artwork:

The artwork will be on sale and exhibit at participating galleries and directly from the artist. 

Proceeds from the sale of the artwork will be donated to the CMR Latino Outreach Program and other charitable organizations. 


For More Information:

Artists, galleries and institutions interested in participating in this project may contact Marité Vidales at


"La posibilidad de realizar un sueño, es lo que hace que la vida sea interesante."   Paulo Coelho

"The Future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their Dreams."  Eleanor Roosevelt