Latinx Voices Respond to the Moment | #PBSForTheArts
As museums and galleries limited visitors, El Museo del Barrio in New York presented virtual pieces from Latinx artists, including a recorded performance piece from Poncili Creación in Puerto Rico. In Miami, Locust Projects featured a large-scale video installation examining the Cuban migration experience by Juana Valdes.
The exhibition is titled "Estamos Bien - La
Trienal" 2020, 2021.
It was originally scheduled to open in
It features 42 artists from all across the United
States, as well as Puerto Rico.
When we had to shift the schedule in order to
accommodate, you know, this global pandemic that
we were all living with, we decided to commission
five projects that were released online starting
in July 2020, thinking about how we could reach
new audiences and engage with our public using the
For example, there was, um, a work by Lizania Cruz
called "The Obituaries of the American Dream" in
which she asked participants to submit
testimonials of when the ideal of the American
dream died for them.
We created a special digital site for/the work
by Michael Menchaca, "The Wall," which is a real
critique of number 45's pledge to create a border
We had been working on the research for this show,
doing studio visits for, you know, more than a year
before the pandemic.
And so we continued to be in dialogue with artists
across, you know, the whole time that we were
all, uh, in our homes experiencing social
Juan William Chavez, who works out of St. Louis, he
created a pandemic-specific work
which is a series of, um, survival blankets that he
creates that draw on his Peruvian ancestry, as well
as his role as a beekeeper and a community farmer and
a social practice artist.
Another work that was created just in the last
year is Patrick Martinez's "urban landscape," this
very large scale painting that almost looks like an
extract of a Los Angeles city wall brought into the
gallery that has all kinds of graffiti and layers
included among that are a glove, some Lysol spray,
references to what we're still using today.
The duo Poncili Creación created a very beautiful
piece through the streets of San Juan in the height
of the pandemic.
I'm Juana Valdes.
I was born in Cuba and I came with my family
to the United States in 1971 through
the Freedom Flights.
As a Cuban I know what it means to migrate by sea
because we have been as a community experiencing
this for the last 50 years.
When we think about migration right now, we
imagine people in third world countries coming
to America or even to Europe for escaping
poverty sometimes war, famine but we are
experiencing the pandemic right now that
has made like, if you were in some cities, people
have chosen to leave the city and go to the
So the whole idea with the video and not having an
individual sort of person, or group, be represented
in the video, wants to deal with that.
That due to climate change or due to some
other situation, maybe such as the pandemic, any
one of us at any particular time right now
could or would be forced to migrate.