When Hector Anchundia first arrived in New York back in 1970 as a 28-year-old to pursue art, he fell in love with the city.
Fifty years later he is living his dream.
“To see him now at 79 finally show of his work at Agora Gallery. It’s just great,” said Hector Anchundia Jr., his son.
He said he watched as his father worked on his art without leaving his home in the Bronx due to the pandemic last year.
“For 120 days he was just in the studio painting just day in and day out,” he said.
Anchundia Sr. was part of one of the early waves of Ecuadorian immigrants who made New York City their home in the late ’60s and early ’70s.
But the life of an artist in the city isn’t easy: at first, he worked odd jobs and as a mechanic to support himself.
In the early 2000s Anchundia would come down to the streets of SoHo to sell his artwork on the weekends. He did that for about 15 years.
“Watching him selling his art on the streets to being in an exhibit, it’s beautiful,” Anchundia Jr. said.
Anchundia Sr. has been part of other exhibits before: his art has been displayed across Latin America, and in 1976, it was even displayed at the MET as part of an exhibition of Latin American artists.
But he considers this his best work yet, and wants to pass on a message to the next generation.
“Keep on fighting, looking up — and never give up on your dreams,” he said in Spanish.
The exhibit will be on display until June 22 at Agora Gallery in Chelsea.