Arrivals And Departures, Migration Experiences in Contemporary Puerto Rican Art

On view from October 14, 2022, to March 4, 2023

Opening Reception: Oct 14, 2022 5:00pm

Taller Puertorriqueño is pleased to present Ida y Vuelta: Experiencias de la migración en el arte puertorriqueño contemporáneo (Arrivals And Departures, Migration Experiences in Contemporary Puerto Rican Art), a sweeping show featuring 19 Puerto Rican artists whose works respond to the experience of many Puerto Ricans living abroad. Migration has been a determining issue in Puerto Rico´s recent history, especially since 2012, due to significant crises and natural disasters.

Curated by Dr. Laura Bravo, the exhibition first opened in February 2017 at the History, Anthropology and Art Museum, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. The show suffered a temporary closure after the strike of Hurricane Maria in September 2017, reopening in December that year and inspiring timely conversations about the humanitarian consequences of this tragic event. September 20, 2022, marks five years since Maria’s landfall in Puerto Rico.

This exhibition features an updated bilingual catalogue, with essays by Laura Bravo, Dr. Jorge Duany, and artists Dr. Quintín Rivera Toro and Dr. Brenda Cruz. As with the artworks on view, the texts written by these scholars and artists offer multiple perspectives on the psychological, economic, social, political, and other effects of migration on individuals. 

The show is divided thematically into five parts:

1. Migration is a risky endeavor. This is a process that many people must face, regardless of geographical origin, when one’s decision to leave or remain in one’s home country must ultimately be made. Migrants tend to fantasize about their future destination, idealizing the circumstances in which their travel and stay might unfold.

2. Political, economic, or social problems as the leading causes of migration. Artists explore this grim scenario when trying to ascribe responsibilities for the Puerto Rican exodus.

3. Intermediate spaces between geography and memory. The migration experience does not imply abandoning one’s culture or traditions. Family memories, homesickness, objects, native language, friends, or geographical origins reappear in the migrants or are even symbolically present in their new spaces. Transnationalism and bifocal lives are critical concepts in migration and this exhibition.

4. A life in constant transit. The traditional concept of migration as an exclusively one-way trip to a permanent destination has been transformed in recent years by a model in which recurrent or multidirectional transit between different spaces is the norm. Mobile lives or circular migration are concepts related to this phenomenon.

5. Displaced identities. Migration has inevitable consequences for individuals, which can be psychological, physical, linguistic, or emotional in nature. As a result of moving from a tight space to a foreign one, previous and new habits or idiosyncrasies coexist. Identity, as a set of characteristics that are not fixed but mutable and dynamic, is transformed when migrants face a different working environment or even another climate. 

As a parallel exhibition, Prelude presents a series of twenty photographs by Puerto Rican artist Máximo Colón, taken in the 1970s in various neighborhoods of New York City. These black-and-white photographs highlight the protests staged by Puerto Rican emigrants in defense of their civil rights, the vibrant street life in the Lower East Side and Harlem, the celebration of Puerto Rican cultural traditions, as well as a series of portraits of some of the most iconic figures of this period.

Through the Puerto Rican experience, Ida y Vuelta is a timely show that grapples with one of the central issues of our time: migration and its consequences. Featured artists include:

Abdiel Segarra Ríos

Adál Maldonado

Anabel Vázquez Rodríguez

Anaida Hernández

Antonio Martorell

Brenda Cruz

Carlos Ruiz Valarino

Edra Soto

John Betancourt

José Ortiz Pagán

Máximo Colón

Marta Mabel Pérez  

Mónica Félix

Nayda Collazo Llorens

Norma Vila Rivero

Osvaldo Budet Meléndez

Pedro Vélez

Quintín Rivera Toro

Víctor Vázquez

About the Curator

Laura Bravo López holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. She is a Professor in the Art History Program, College of Humanities, at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. 

She has been a researcher at Tate Britain, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, La Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona. Bravo has curated more than fifteen exhibitions in museums and art galleries in Puerto Rico and Spain.

Major funding for this exhibition and its programs was provided by PNC Arts Alive 

Additional generous support was contributed by Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Independence Foundation, Kensington Community Resilience Fund, Philadelphia Foundation, Samuel S. Fels Fund, William Penn Foundation & PA Council on the Arts.

Accompanying Programming:

Feb 2, 2023 6:00 – 8:00pm Virtual Curatorial Talk with Dr. Laura Bravo

During this talk Dr. Bravo will discuss the artwork and the themes in the exhibition.

Feb 11, 2023 1:00 – 4:00pm Family Tree: A discussion on Migration

Join us for a conversation on migration and its effects. This is a family event and will be a space where all individuals can share their migration stories through activities for kids and adults.

Register for event

March 3, 2023 6:30 – 8:00pm Closing Celebration: Artist Talks & More

Join us for a Closing Celebration of Ida y Vuelta: Experiencias de la migración en el arte puertorriqueño contemporáneo. This event will feature artist talks with some of the artists featured in the show and might be your last chance to see the show at Taller Puertorriqueño!

Two Worlds; One Heart. Submit your Migration Story

As part of the exhibition, we are collecting stories of migration. We want to hear your reasons for coming or staying where you are; tell us why you decided to leave the place you were or wish to return.

Call the number ‭(646) 783-8178‬ and leave a voice message with your migration story.

Pages: 1 2