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.
‘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.”
‘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.
‘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.