When Elton Monroy Durán visited the United States he couldn’t have guessed where his artistic journey would take him.
“I asked God two questions,” he said. “First, I wanted to know if I am an artist. Second, what is the purpose of my existence? I received this answer: ‘Painting a message of life.’”
Durán’s work is a testament to the far-reaching impact of eye, organ and tissue donation. Although he himself is not a donor family member or transplant recipient, Durán said he felt compelled to promote awareness of donation and transplantation through his art in a collection called “American Corpus.”
“I want to save lives through art,” Durán said.
A native of Mexico, Durán recently visited the Detroit area to further promote and explore his art. It was during his time in Detroit that he was inspired to start “American Corpus,” and began work on the series of large-scale acrylic paintings on canvas.
“Art is extremely powerful,” he said. “It can touch people very deeply. Education begins when we allow our inner artistic sensibility to speak to us.”
He has been active in the local arts scene, exhibiting “American Corpus” at 555 Galleries in Detroit, Detroit River Days and Wyandotte Street Art Fair, where he won Best in Show.
At each of his events, Durán has encouraged people to join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. He said he has distributed about a thousand donor registration cards.
“Life is wonderful, and life with awareness can make us loving people,” he said.
Durán has also been closely involved with the Michigan Eye-Bank, working to promote our mission of restoring sight and lives through corneal transplantation. Two of Durán’s works hang in the Michigan Eye-Bank’s office.
“The Michigan Eye-Bank is a place with many special people doing extraordinary work,” Durán said. “I have tremendous respect and appreciation for them.”
He said he has been pleased with people’s responses to his message.
“The gift of sight is something to celebrate,” he said. “Without it, we would not be able to appreciate art and its colors.”