Puerto Rican artist Edna Santiago commissioned and curated an art exhibition to support the Boricua artistic community that had been affected post-Maria but couldn’t find space to show their work until now.

“I wanted to strengthen the artists, help them heal, so that the entire community can heal with them and their art,” said Santiago, 66, a Philly resident since 2001.

The show has 27 works produced by 18 artists from Puerto Rico, Philadelphia, New York City, and North Carolina.

“Nor Wind, Nor Waters” is open until Sept. 1, from noon to 5 p.m. at Da Vinci Art Alliance 704 Catharine St. in Philadelphia.

‘Renacer,’ by Salomé Cosmique

The Rebirth performance took place on the exhibit’s opening night. Cosmique used paper sheets to portray — without words — the most emblematic moments in history of the relationship between Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland. Crouched on a blue tarp and throwing sand over her body and the Puerto Rican flag, the Colombian artist said the performance offered a critique of how these events are frequently forgotten.

José Oscar Torres won a medal at the 10th Florence Biennial of Contemporary Art in October 2015, before he moved to Saint Petersburg, Florida, in November 2018.
Jesenia De Moya Correa
José Oscar Torres won a medal at the 10th Florence Biennial of Contemporary Art in October 2015, before he moved to Saint Petersburg, Florida, in November 2018.

‘Sentado en el insularismo,’ by José Oscar Torres

Sitting on Insularism is a three-dimensional mixed-media work made out of engraved wood, oil paint, acrylic, and steel wire that reflects how secluded Puerto Ricans felt after the hurricanes of September 2017. With a drill and paint in shades of blue, Torres used pointillism techniques to build a horizon that illustrates how islanders felt isolated and limited in territory.

“This piece is looking at that one condition that mostly defined the experience of post-María: remoteness.”

Gilberto González is a Philly-born Puerto Rican who honors his father with "Kensington Burning."
Jesenia De Moya Correa
Gilberto González is a Philly-born Puerto Rican who honors his father with "Kensington Burning."

‘Kensington Burning,’ by Gilberto González

The Philly-born activist re-created a childhood memory for the exhibit. Using oil paint, oil pastel, and markers, González captures the moment a factory on Fourth and Ontario Streets caught flames in the early ’80s. His piece honors his father, Teófilo, who left Puerto Rico to work in company farms in New Jersey and Michigan, and encouraged his son’s art.

Edward Pérez Pérez poses in front of one of the two paintings he is showcasing at the exhibit.
Jesenia De Moya Correa
Edward Pérez Pérez poses in front of one of the two paintings he is showcasing at the exhibit.

‘Regadores de luz,’ by Edward Pérez Pérez

Light Spreaders is part of a collection of 28 paintings, called “Revival,” that Pérez started producing three days after Hurricane Maria hit the island. This one is a collage of resin, crystal powder, and oil paint on canvas that highlights the struggles islanders endured in their daily lives, such as the endless lines to purchase gasoline for electric generators. Pérez considers the artwork a piece of social criticism that uses darkness as a metaphor for death.