ON VIEW: JUNE 1, 2023 - JULY 31, 2023
Featuring Sonimarie Rodriguez & Annais Delgado Sánchez
Emerging/Emergente: Para Nosotres is a pop-up show featuring works by emerging artists Sonimarie Rodriguez and Annais Delgado Sánchez. Both these artists explore themes of cultural identity, gender identity, belonging, expression, and celebration in their work.
Sonimarie Rodriguez’s senior thesis project ¡Que Se Vayan! explores the struggle of the gentrification of Puerto Rico and its status as the world’s oldest colony. They use traditional practices such as printmaking and vejigante mask-making in a way that honors them while pushing the boundaries of nonconformity and subverting tradition. Their work represents the overarching struggle for Puerto Ricans as well as their own personal relationship with their culture, lineage, and family.
Annais Delgado Sánchez’ senior thesis project Deconstructing Gender is an interactive poster series and accompanying zine that explores the social construct of gender and the trans experience. They blend personal and anonymous interviews to relay diverse stories of trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming folks. Incorporating interactive elements such as AR (altered reality) and a workbook/zine, photography with interview subjects, writing, and design, they create interactive and growing narratives of trans folks experiences and realities. Their work is meant to question the gender binary, educate on the subject, move beyond it, and celebrate the diversity and complexity of trans, gender non-conforming, and nonbinary experiences.
The Emerging/Emergente pop-up series is a pilot meant to give an opportunity for emerging and young artists to display their work at Taller Puertorriqueño.
About the Artists
Annais delgado sánchez:
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Annais Delgado Sánchez is a graphic designer, animator, illustrator, printmaker, and all-around creative. They have always had a passion for creating which led them to pursue art as a career. After moving to Philly they studied Graphic Design and Animation at Moore College of Art and Design. Where they obtained their BFA and discovered their love for design, printmaking, social justice and bringing these worlds together. Through art and design they strive to create work that advocates for their communities and inspires change or conversation.
Their artwork explores themes of identity as it relates to gender, sexuality, culture, body politics, and how these all come together and intersect. Inserting their Boricua, queer, and trans identity into their work has been a vital part of developing their practice as an artist. Within their work they experiment with mediums and practices such as design, illustration, typography, motion, screen-printing, linoleum printing, photography, and book-binding.
Along this journey, I had the chance to give life to a guardian that stands against the eraser and displacement of the people of Borikén. All of the intensity and anger I had following up this point resulted in the summoning of my vejigante warrior. My warrior’s creation was influenced by my love for comic books and high fantasy. The feeling of hopelessness that has been louder than ever has been battled by the rising hope of my warrior. It has helped me cope with the fear of losing my island to the colonizers. There is also the feeling of unsettlement while displaying the anger I have while also existing in the same home as the people I am speaking against. This has caused me to feel insecure about displaying my work, especially in front of the people of Puerto Rico. It has run through my mind that they have all the right to be against my work’s argument since I do not experience the struggles that they are currently going through. I have made my peace with that. Instead I have been focusing on strengthening the fight for the youth and the future that will follow after me.
Nelson Antonio Denis, who wrote War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony, is someone who fueled a lot of the research for this thesis. His book goes through the untold story of the 1950 revolution in Puerto Rico and the long history of U.S. intervention on the island. The book was traumatizing for me to read due to the intense violence the people depicted had to face. For the people who want to do research about the origins of the struggles in Puerto Rico, I heavily recommend War Against All Puerto Ricans. Keysha Rivera and Elsa Maria Melendez are artists that I have felt guided by with my expression and context. Rivera’s work flowed through my pieces with the use of textile and photographs. Printing out pictures of the people in my life and stitching them to the garment became a healing process for me. The photographs serve to honor the people in my life and have them follow me in the steps I will be taking. I admire Melendez a lot in how she makes herself the idol of the people she is representing in her work. Especially in her piece Milk (2020) where she stated, “In this piece I create representations where I develop an antithesis of the judgements of the body to then document with my work the evolution of the figure of that woman.” To make yourself the vessel for so many people to use to filter out their pain and suffering is inspiring. I hold Elsa and Keysha really close to my practice and motivation and appreciate their work greatly.
The clash of my mediums has helped me project my warrior successfully. My prints present my warrior in a setting of righteousness and victory. I wanted to show their strength and fearlessness. The frame surrounding the figures turns the image into a capsule that nobody can enter or leave making it feel paralyzed in time. It is decorated with fauna and flora from the lands of Borikén that in many years will perish as a result of global warming and agricultural colonization. The decorative mask made out of soft sculpture and clay gave me the opportunity to think about detail and textures. It’s a different take on the traditional paper mache technique that the masks are made of. Finally, the garment and paper mache mask that it goes along with was my biggest accomplishment. To be able to take the form of my vejigante warrior drives me to conquer the insecurities I feel as an individual living through the Puerto Rican diaspora. I hope that with this thesis I can inspire more warriors to rise and conquer against their oppressors. This is just the start of something that I expect will be part of a movement for justice.
MAY 26, 2023 | 4:00PM - 7:00PM
Join us for the opening reception of Exploratory Minds: CEP & YAP Exhibition. Come celebrate our talented students with us!