Puerto Rico: Imaginaires and Creativity on the Move

It hasn't been long since the exhibition Carry On: Puerto Rico Inspected opened in Villa Victoria Center for the Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. Thanks to the collaborative work of the project's curators, Anabel Vázquez Rodríguez and Beto Torrens, who also is director of the Galería Yemayá [es] art gallery in Puerto Rico, the number of artists called on to cross the pond and travel north stands at 35.

Imagen por Juan A. Negroni

The motivations behind this project are many. But the main goal is to continue to foster cultural exchange, which is key for the complete development of the community. This is the vision of the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, founded by the community organization Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción in 1986.

According to Anabel, the general public in Boston knows very little about Puerto Rican contemporary art, or about the political and social context in which it was created. There are not enough forums for a dialogue about the artistic reality of the Island, and the purpose of this collaboration with the Galería Yemayá is to generate just that.

In this case, through the concept of portability both the curators and the artists have pushed the barriers that prevent the exposure of Puerto Rican art in the United States and other countries, thus creating new connections.

The Galería Yemayá states this feeling clearly: “The modern world has embraced portability, and that very same concept has become synonymous with progress. As iPhones, iPods and other technologies become smaller, they become more powerful. All the same, portability has emerged as a necessity.”

Furthermore, in this way it's less complicated to slip between colonial borders (It is certainly not a coincidence that the exhibition opened on the Sept. 23, the day marking El Grito de Lares, which was the first major rebellion in Puerto Rico against colonial rule). The shipment of the artworks to Boston proved this point. Beto shares that “some fellow artists served as ‘mules,’ carrying pieces in their carry-on luggage, and until they were inspected by the US Department of Agriculture, something that doesn't happen when you travel from the United States to Puerto Rico…”

Anabel and Beto hope to very soon launch a website dedicated to the project, where they will include images of the works (drawings, paintings, photographs, instalations, among others), as well as biographical information about the artists. In the meantime, those interested in the project will be able to listen to the two curators as well as appreciate some of the artworks in a video produced by the Puerto Rican newspaper El Vocero [es].

The 35 artists are:

Aby Ruiz,Abey Charrón, Admín Torres, Alberto Mier, Aslan, Alexis Bousquet, Bobby Cruz, Celso González, Chemi Rosado Seijo, Gerardo Cloquell, Elsa Meléndez, Edgardo Larregui, Héctor Rafael, Iván Girona, Ismo, Jorge Rito Cordero, Jason Mena, Joelly Rodríguez, Juan Negroni, Karlo Ibarra, Norma Vila Rivero, Nina Méndez Martí, Nepo, Manuel Rodríguez, Myritza Castillo, La Pandilla, Omar Velázquez, Omar Banuchi, Omar Obdulio, Quique Rivera Rivera, Vincent Díaz Negrón, Yolanda VelázquezZinthia Vázquez Viera, and Beto Torrens y  Anabel Vázquez, who are not afraid to take on the roles of curator and artist simulaneously.

Carry On: Puerto Rico Inspected will be in Boston until Nov. 2, 2011 before showing in Abrazo Interno, the gallery of the Clemente Soto Vélez cultural center, in New York City from Nov. 10 to Dec. 11, 2011.

This comprehensive exhibition of contemporary Puerto Rican art may well be the first of its kind held in La Galería of the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, as well as the New England area.

We hope that it isn't the last!

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