Photo: Murals on a building in Santurce.
Monday's excursion was so visually overwhelming (in a good way) and also had a particularly personal discovery for me.
First, in the morning, we had an incredible class with Dr. Maria Elba Torres, who's a co-creator of the CAUWW program, and a foremost expert on Puerto Rican art history. She showed us slides of images and explained to us about the different perspectives on, and aesthetics of Puerto Rican art - from the institutionally accepted Spaniard/European, and the American to the lesser known and documented Antillean/Caribbean aesthetic. The latter of which she has been researching, documenting, writing and teaching about, as it is her specialty as an art historian and educator.
My classmates and I then piled in to the van for a trip to Santurce to meet with a local artist there named Javier Cintron. Javier is one of the artists that works with the event Santurce Es Ley (Santurce is Law), which invites artists to create public murals all over town. And with that, the whole town is COVERED in huge and amazing art. It's really quite a sight to see. Javier took us on a tour all around to view murals that were created by fellow artists, as well as himself. One of the most poignant things that Javier said, which stuck with me was that the public mural movement in Santurce has become so strong and relevant that it alleviated the need for artists to rely on the acceptance of institutions like art galleries or museums. It allows them to have a voice and get their authentic messages out and impact upon the community.
This visit had a particular relevance for me because my father actually lived in this city for some time (being born in the farmlands of Humacao and moving to Santurce for some time before immigrating to New York City). I hastily called my dad to ask him what street he lived on and as serendipity would have it, he lived on Monserrate street, the same street as Javier! After our mural tour, Javier welcomed us into his home which was interesting since a part of his work is to illustrate the old houses of Santurce (one of which he lives in), and interesting for me too, since it's a part of my own family's history.
(There are lots more pics of the art of Santurce on my Instagram: @whippedhoney.)
Javier Cintron in front of Bikismo's mural in Santurce
Javier in front of his house
CAUWW with Javier in front of one of his murals
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