Tatiana Echeverría Delgado studied economics in her native Cuba but says she was always an artist at heart. She and her husband, Urbi Álvarez Blanco, made their living as artisans in the city of Santa Clara but wanted to offer their child a better life than the Communist island could offer.
“Living under a totalitarian regime is extremely difficult, especially as an artist. It was not easy to leave, but we knew it was the right decision,” Tatiana recalls.
Tatiana, Urbi, and their son made their way to Mexico via Nicaragua in 2019. Those first months were particularly difficult on the young family as their migratory situation was yet to be resolved, and neither Tatiana nor Urbi was able to work.
Urged on by Tatiana’s insistence that something had to give, the couple invested their savings in tools to start a small iron workshop. After doing a few small jobs for construction sites, Tatiana spotted a niche in the market for pretty ironwork plant holders. Her first big hit was a design inspired by a likeness of Frida Khalo, which she sold through social media.
As time went on, Tatiana and Urbi came up with new designs and uses for their skills and now commission jobs ranging from small decorative pieces to full ironwork murals.
Before long, Tatiana decided to pursue artistic ironwork full-time with the support of her husband, who also contributes to their growing catalog of designs.
“We are so lucky to have ended up here in Mérida. As immigrants, we face challenges that most people will never understand, but for the most part, the people of this city have welcomed us with open arms,” she says.
The Echeverría Delgado family is pursuing Mexican citizenship and envision spending the rest of their lives in Mérida.
“Life is not always easy, but if you are willing to work hard and learn, you will realize that all obstacles are only in your mind,” says Tatiana with a big smile as she slides down her protective gear to begin a new piece.