With the Puerto Rican Diaspora
2019 @ First Edition of Freshpaint Springfield. Springfield, Massachusetts, USA.
These murals were made for the first edition of Freshpaint in Springfield, Massachusetts, a city home to the Puerto Rican diaspora. This opportunity occurred at a very special moment in what has been our process of establishing and deepening ties with the Puerto Rican diaspora in the United States. Like many other Puerto Ricans, members of the Moriviví were climate refugees in the area known as Western Mass due to the havoc caused by the passage of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico. From that experience, we learned a lot about the struggles of the diaspora and the great sense of community that Puerto Ricans have in that position. We experienced so much love and care from our community outside the archipelago that we wanted to honor the diasporic experience for our participation in Freshpaint Springfield.
Brincar el Charco
2019 @ 2019. Hampden St & Main St, Springfield, MA, EEU.
Brincar el charco, adaptarse y cosechar el futuro.
(Jump the pond, adapt and harvest the future)
The mural on Hampden Street evokes what it is like to move to the United States. An everyday scene is presented where the viewer can look into the intimate space of a woman and her child, through a window into the interior of her home. The mother is reading a letter. With this action we allude to a connection with the past, the archipelago and loved ones in the distance. On the other hand, the girl waters the plants in her window box. This action invokes taking root in a new place and caring for the growth of new life in new soil. As you continue to appreciate the scene, a clothesline comes out of the window. Instead of clothes, they hang newspapers with different headlines from Puerto Rican newspapers that project the political situation in Puerto Rico. This detail dialogues with one of our community murals titled Cataño (2019). The line connects to an electric pole, which has signs like those indicating the names of the streets with their address. One reads “Brincar el charco”(Jump the pond) pointing towards the scene of this mural. Another reads “Pedacito de tierra”(Little piece of land) and points to the mural on Taylor Street. The scene is a city, where red brick buildings are predominant. We decided to highlight this, because it is one of the great differences between the landscape of Puerto Rico and the United States. Since, in the archipelago there are very few buildings made of this material due to our warm and tropical climate.
This scene not only visually narrates the complex relationships that diasporas have and cultivate. Also, it invites the viewer to learn about their experiences in a very intimate way, from the family space. We try to articulate the dual identity in which the diaspora finds itself and remind all Puerto Ricans that puertorriqueñidad goes beyond the territory.
Ellxs se van con el éxodo
2019 @ Taylor St & Main St, Springfield, MA, EEUU.
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The mural on Taylor Street features a beach scene, from the coast to a vast sea. In the landscape you can distinguish a fort in the distance, the city, a neighborhood that alludes to La Perla and a mangrove. Then we find ourselves facing three young girls looking into the distance, while one looks directly at the viewer. The reference image for these protagonists was taken from the artistic project Anoxia by the artist Joaquín Octavio in collaboration with the dance and performance group La Trinchera. Following the girls' gaze, the viewer moves towards the beach and the ocean. In the water, there is a message among the waves: "They are leaving with the exodus even though they don't want to", a chorus taken from the song Éxodo by the musical group Zona de Bomba. In the same way, the movement of water leads us towards a solitary figure. It is a woman holding a mirror in front of her face. In the mirror we recreated a version of another one of our murals, titled May 1, 2018, made at the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, in Chicago. IL.
This scene evokes leaving our beloved archipelago, building a landscape that includes all the elements that can be seen when leaving Puerto Rico from a plane. The figure holding the mirror with the protest images provokes reflection on the political situation in Puerto Rico, as well as how these images become part of our identity. The girls lead us to reflect on the position of younger generations. Due to the fiscal and political situation of our country, our youth have a great burden. The current situation is one where it is difficult to build a stable future in Puerto Rico, where there is no young generation to meet the needs of our growing elderly population, where staying in our land becomes a constant act of resistance.
2018 @ ¡Borinken me Llama! Public Art Series. Chicago, IL, USA.
This large format painting is part of “Borinken me Llama! Public Art Series”, a series of murals made in the summer of 2018, in the Puerto Rican neighborhood of Chicago, coordinated by the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center.
Before the combative summer of 2019, Puerto Rico had already had at least 10 years of budget cuts and fiscal crises. By 2018, we had already had two years of austerity measures imposed by the Fiscal Control Board under the PROMESA Act. Additionally, many Puerto Ricans were dealing with the damage to our public systems after Hurricanes Irma and María. Therefore, the protests had already been escalating in size and confrontations with the police for years. The post-hurricane situation only made more evident the vulnerability in which our government had left us.
May 1st, 2018, specifically, was one of the demonstrations with the largest police presence in years. This piece, which bears the same name, portrays a scene taken from journalistic photographs of that day, where the line of protesters could be seen in front of the line of the police riot control unit. We added the girl in the center with her face covered, and the figure with the raised plenera. We also included uplifted fists, that reference those from the serigraphic poster “Centenario de la abolición de la esclavitud” (Centenary of the Abolition of Slavery-1973) by José Rosa Castellanos. In the sky we included a quote by Segundo Ruiz Belvis “There is no intermediate state between slavery and freedom.” The image speaks for itself.