MaiYap | Claudia Castillo


Sophie Bonet


Dorothy Mangurian Comprehensive Women’s Center at Holy Cross HealthPlex

1000 NE 56th St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334

ArtServe and Holy Cross Health join forces to celebrate South Florida female artists once again through a series of quarterly exhibitions dedicated to the inspiration, and encouragement of women in the arts.

This curatorial collaboration kicks off with Seasons of Life and Nature, running from May 20th through August 18th, 2021 at the Dorothy Mangurian Comprehensive Women’s Center at Holy Cross HealthPlex in Fort Lauderdale. The exhibition features curated collections of paintings by local artists MaiYap and Claudia Castillo. Each one of these artists juxtaposes abstraction and composition, order and intuition, reason and randomness, portraying a diverse and yet parallel examination of identity and nature.

With this exhibition, ArtServe aims to support exceptional artists, each of whom provides a new way of reflecting the world around us. The two protagonists in Seasons of Life and Nature were selected for their extraordinary creativity and reflection of ArtServe’s commitment to providing exceptional public art throughout Broward County.


MaiYap is an award-winning Chinese Panamanian artist and art instructor. She produces high-quality innovative paintings that bring happiness, social and environmental awareness. In her 30 years of experience, nature has always been an inspiration. She paints in a variety of techniques, ranging from realistic flowers utilizing traditional brushes, landscapes, seascapes, and abstracts done exclusively with palette knives to assemblages utilizing a variety of found objects. MaiYap’s unique ancestral combination, Chinese and Panamanian, shows in all her work. Her paintings are very delicate and intricate but are done in strong and vibrant tropical colors. From the beginning, her unusual close-up flowers helped her to establish herself as one of the best floral painters in South Florida, which landed her a position as an art teacher at the prestigious Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens. MaiYap is also a master colorist and palette knife instructor. Using only palette knives, she is the first to depict South Florida’s landscape in an impressionistic pointillism style. Her latest environmental abstracts question our beliefs and propel us to take action for the preservation of our planet. She has shown in over 100 selected galleries, museums, and art fairs nationally and internationally. MaiYap has organized and curated many of them to help raise funds for institutions like Sunshine Kids, Greater Miami Youth Symphony, Susan G. Komen, and South Florida Park Trust. She is the founder and director of Palette Knife Artists of Miami, the first group of its kind in South Florida, and Vice-President of the National League of American Pen Women Coral Gables branch. Her expertise has helped expand art programs at Fairchild Tropical Gardens, Village of Palmetto Bay, the Consulate General of Panamá in Miami, Coconut Grove Art Festival as a juror, among many others. Her work is on the permanent collection at the Village of Palmetto Bay, Florida International University, Saint Thomas University, University of Miami, Haegeumgang Museum in South Korea, and Panama’s Ministry of Culture. She received her education from the University of Georgia, where she earned a degree in Advertising and Graphic Design. She resides with her family in Miami, Florida.

Instagram: @maiyapfineart



Petals and Pistils – The Secret Language of Flowers Born in the Republic of Panama of Chinese parents, MaiYap has been able to magically blend East and West on canvas. Within the walls of her parent’s home, she was immersed in the beauty, balance, and perfection of millennial traditions passed on from one generation to another. Once outside these walls, her senses were overcome by the amazing colors, sounds, and energy of the Tropics. Panama provided a bustling backdrop of exciting people, places, and music. Most importantly, its natural surroundings provided the perfect artistic inspiration. With the Petals and Pistils series, she wishes to forever change the way people look at flowers. From being common and ordinary products of nature to unique miracles of this Earth. Her exquisite technique utilizes “extreme close-ups”. Through them, she compels the viewer to observe every detail, their powerful colors, and exuberant shapes which elicit wonder peacefully and joyfully. She intends to shock the senses and stir deep emotions. Viewers feel drawn to “let go” and immerse themselves in their amazing presence. In many, they evoke happiness, exhilaration, and even ecstasy…yet never indifference. As MaiYap’s art continues to address her key issues about the environment and humanity’s interactive role and responsibility, she hopes her flowers are reminders of how much there still needs to be done and the urgency to take action.

Claudia Castillo was born in Colombia and educated in the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota. She sought additional art studies in the Finishing School, NY; Frank Monaco Gallery, the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, and the National University of Colombia. Claudia’s art is a process of transformation that starts with an inspired idea from the emotions evoked from nature, earth, and water. The outcome is instinctive and spontaneous: simply colors and forms. Claudia’s work draws upon emotions and feelings to create her sense of realism which is a transformative abstraction reflecting her unique reality of continual change. She founded Claudia Castillo ART studio, a boutique art gallery in the heart of Wilton Manors providing a unique variety of quality original artwork, gifts, and collectibles for everyone. Claudia is passionate about helping her community and serves on the Wilton Drive Improvement District, Island City Art Advisory Committee, and other non-profit organizations to expand culture and artistic diversity.

Instagram: @claudiacastillo_artstudio_2215

Facebook: @claudiacastilloartist


My work is a process of transformation. I start with an inspired idea from the emotion that is evoked in me from nature, earth, and water. The outcome is instinctive and spontaneous: just colors and forms. From the moment of inspiration, I allow myself to be moved and transformed. I think about colors used by great artists that have influenced me and I am stimulated by the forces and power of those colors. I draw upon those emotions to create my sense of realism which is an abstraction that reflects my reality of continual change.