The Moment of the Yagrumo

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Curated by Marina Reyes Franco

El momento del yagrumo addresses our relationship with nature through three central themes: the rights of nature; demands of sovereignty and resistance; through the work of 21 artists and collectives active in Caribbean and the Americas.

"El momento del yagrumo" curatorial commentary video (2021-05-17) by Directed by Javier Colón & Glorimar MarreroMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

The Moment of the Yagrumo's hallway view (2021-04-25) by Marina Reyes FrancoMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

The Moment of the Yagrumo refers to the present, the time after the passage of a devastating storm when the strongest trees in the tropical forest fall and then, in that unexpected clearing, the yagrumo can germinate. This tree is much weaker and, although its sprouts give the sensation and greenery that indicate recovery, they will be easier to fall in future storms. These times of extreme and more frequent storms could accelerate processes in which the forests themselves help create the global warming that destroys them. The "yagrumo moment" is simultaneously a metaphor for post-hurricane recovery, but also the urgency for deeper changes in our relationship with nature.

The Yagrumo's Moment Exhibition View First hall, first gallery (2021-04-17)Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

The exhibition examines three central themes: the rights of nature; sovereignty and resistance; and the recovery of knowledge through artisan practices incorporated into contemporary art practices by artists located in the Caribbean and the Americas. This group of artists shares interests in a growing appreciation and study of the vernacular and approaches art from regenerative practices, the use of natural materials and local production and consumption towards a true emancipation. Others use technology and its ways of representing nature to reflect on the social and cultural effects of our exploration of the world and the universe.

The Yagrumo's Moment Exhibition View First hall, second gallery (2021-04-17)Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Faced with a global economic system that collapsed at the end of the 2000s, there is a search for self-sufficiency and social reorganization that does not exclude the wishes of artists, who seek alternatives outside the margins that have been drawn for us. These artistic practices account for the paradigm shift observed in the wider art world, in which spaces have been created for important historical reviews and renewed interest in artists and fields usually considered outside the canon of art. There is other knowledge that it is urgent to recover for greater dissemination as part of the decolonization strategies that we can put into practice.

The Yagrumo's Moment Exhibition View First hall, first gallery (2021-04-17)Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Created during a stay on Captiva Island in Florida, this series illustrates a "meteorological twist" in the artist's work. Taking Doppler radar images as a starting point, these scientific data translated into intelligible images go through a somatization process that is as personal as it is methodical. By removing layers of information from the original, the images distance themselves from their closest traumatic reference to atmospheric phenomena, the hurricanes that afflict us, becoming abstract works that navigate between the sensible and its possible interpretation.

Guillermo E. Rodríguez
San Juan, Puerto Rico 1986

Untitled (Captiva 1)
Untitled (Captiva 2)
Untitled (Captiva 3)
from the series Doppler Landscapes, 2019
Silkscreen on acetate
42 x 42" each
Courtesy of the artist

The Yagrumo's Moment Exhibition View First hall, first gallery (2021-04-17)Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Seen next to Serpent River Book & Serpent Table by Carolina Caycedo, we can think about the technology that made these images possible, as well as the atmospheric impact that all our actions have on the planet.

Guillermo E. Rodríguez
San Juan, Puerto Rico 1986

Untitled (Jungle Road Rainbow), from the series Doppler Landscapes, 2019
Silkscreen on lined paper
48 x 48”
Courtesy of the artist

Serpent River Book & Serpent Table (2017) by Carolina CaycedoMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Serpent River Book & Serpent Table is an installation that incorporates an artist’s book that is part of a wider body of work called Be Damned. Developed over the past decade, Be Damned looks into how infrastructures developed to contain rivers, such as dams and channels, affect bodies of water as well as social bodies. Indigenous codexes from the Americas and maps of the Berlin Wall both served as inspiration in the development of the book, which contains images on one side and archival texts, poems and other texts written by the artist on the other.

Carolina Caycedo
Colombia 1978. Born in London. Resides in Los Angeles

Serpent River Book & Serpent Table, 2017
Artist book, wooden table
Dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist and Instituto de Visión

The Yagrumo's Moment Exhibition View First hall, second gallery (2021-04-17)Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

The book is divided into five chapters that encompass indigenous understandings of rivers; relation and equilibrium within the river; the colonial, corporate and neo-colonial relationship to the river; and the consequences of that exploitation, especially when it gets out of control. Finally, the book presents the people who are affected by the corporate understanding of the common goods, and how they resist. Constructed to evoke the shape of a river, the installation guides us in an exploration of the maps, photos and struggles that connect us.

The Yagrumo's Moment Exhibition View First hall, first gallery (2021-04-17)Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Silat is the result of ongoing collaborations between Grupo Thañí, an organized group of Wichí female weavers from Salta, a province in northern Argentina, and Guido Yannitto, who is also from Salta. Grupo Thañí emerged in 2015 because of community demands and an effort by government authorities and allies to incentivize economies around artisanal practices, foster innovative techniques, designs and textile uses, as well as to empower women in Wichí communities who are the carriers of these traditions to receive a fair wage.

Grupo Thañí with accompaniment by Guido Yannitto
Salta, Argentina

Silat, 2020
Acrylic wool
68 x 94½"
Hand woven by: Anabel Luna, Miriam Pérez, Ana López, Graciela López y Clementina Pérez from the communities of El Bordo and Puntana Grande

Silat (2020) by Grupo Thañí and Guido YannittoMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

This particular art work emerged out of exchanges between Yannitto and the weavers, who discussed themes and references to include in the final textile piece. The main theme is water, whether it be through the hydrographic map at the center of the textile, or the many creatures that belong in and around surrounding rivers, such as birds and mermaids. The chosen title, Silat (notice, information, alert, notice, announcement, or warning), is a message: “for all those who do not know us, or do not know that there are indigenous Wichí women who work in handicrafts, and that there have always been, since our ancestors. That we are here, present.”

Femme Minotaur (2021) by Cristina TufiñoMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Femme Minotaur consists of a small female minotaur sculpture made out of unfired red clay taken from a river near the artist’s home. The figure sits on top of the pigmented remnants of an oak tree that fell after the passing of Hurricane Maria, adding layers of meaning to the piece. This minotaur evokes other anthropomorphized creatures, particularly the sphinx, which have long been part of Tufiño’s body of work, as they explore biographical representation, family and matriarchal power. The piece is dedicated to her grandmother, Pilar, in whose house it was created.

Cristina Tufiño
San Juan, Puerto Rico 1982

Femme Minotaur, 2021
Pigment, clay, and wood
52 x 8 x 4"
Courtesy of the artist and Galería Agustina Ferreyra

1980: Battle Around the Body of the Great Vejiganta: Tocones (2010) by Daniel Lind RamosMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

The Fiestas de Santiago Apóstol, or festivities in honor of St. James, in Loíza have been, to a large extent, the prism through which Daniel Lind Ramos interprets and represents history. Its colors and characters are present in his pictorial and sculptural work, always with great reverence for its symbology and syncretism.

Daniel Lind Ramos
Loíza, Puerto Rico 1953

1980: Batalla en torno al cuerpo de la gran Vejiganta: Tocones / 1980: Battle Around the Body of the Great Vejiganta: Tocones
Charcoal on canvas
60 x 96½"
Courtesy of the artist

Taking the specificity of Loíza as a starting point, he links up to the creative universe of the African diaspora at a global level. The title of this drawing refers to the murder of Adolfina Villanueva on February 6, 1980, at the hands of the Puerto Rico Police during the eviction of her house and her ancestral land in the Tocones sector of Loíza.

The land legally belonged to someone else and, in their eagerness to sell it, the police, a SWAT team, the judge and the landowner gathered to carry out an eviction that killed the mother of six, wounded her husband, and flattened her house.

In this representation, Adolfina has the support of her community that defends her from the Santiago-faced anthropomorphized machines. This piece synthesizes a painful and unfair moment in the history of Puerto Rico and serves as call for decent housing and an anti-racist future.

Agroteca: Shared Tools for Our Food Sovereignty (2021) by El Departamento de la ComidaMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Founded in 2010, El Departamento de la Comida has gone through various stages in its development: first as a community-based agricultural project that distributed products from various farms (2010-2012); a shop and restaurant (2012-2017); coordinator of solidarity brigades for the recovery of farms after Hurricane María (2017-2018); and its current iteration as a non-profit organization that fights for food sovereignty in Puerto Rico as an alternative agency that supports agroecological projects. For this occasion, El Departamento de la Comida was invited to make a pop-up installation of La Agroteca, its resource library located in the San Salvador neighborhood in Caguas, Puerto Rico. This intervention has a sample of its three collections: locally made agricultural tools, local seeds and educational materials.

El Departamento de la Comida
Caguas, Puerto Rico

Agroteca: Shared Tools for Our Food Sovereignty
2021
Installation
Courtesy of the collective

Tools

Rod to take down fruits
Ángel Ramón Agosto
Naguabo, Puerto Rico

Collinear hoe, Heart hoe, Hatchet, Broad fork
Francisco López
Guaynabo, Puerto Rico

Machete companion
Hector Cintrón
Cayey, Puerto Rico

Bamboo splitter
Jordy Medina de León
Río Piedras, Puerto Rico

Hoe with handle socket
Juan “Taquito”
Arroyo, Puerto Rico

Machete companion, guava wood, file
Leila Mattina
Aibonito, Puerto Rico

Tool for opening a water coconut, Tool for removing coconut kernel from shell, Straws
Miguel Cora
Arroyo, Puerto Rico

The Yagrumo's Moment Exhibition View First hall, second gallery (2021-04-17)Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

This installation is possible thanks to the continuous support of farmers, artisans, keepers of seeds, researchers and authors around Borikén.

Books
Aurora Levins Morales, Arturo Massol Deyá, Carlos Taso Zenón, Dean Spade, Ernesto, Pujols Ovidio, Hilda Llorens, José Mari Mut, José Rivera, María Benedetti, Naomi Klein, Nelson Alvarez, Rafael Joglar, Ricardo, Levins Morales, Seed Broadcast, Vandana Shiva et al., La Vía Campesina

Furniture

Bench, rocking chairs and table
Don Luis Pérez Rosales
Yauco, Puerto Rico

Untitled (Machineel) (2019) by Joiri MinayaMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Tropical print fabrics have long been part of Joiri Minaya’s critical toolbox, having incorporated these materials in her work via photographs, performances, and installations. The Cloakings is a series of digital and real coverings for public monuments that represent colonial legacies. These tropical print coverings were specifically designed as metaphors of resistance, incorporating plants used in Native American, Black and Afro-Caribbean rituals that reference poison healing, purging, cleansing, casting evil spirits away or protection, as well as the very plant that poisoned Ponce de León.

Joiri Minaya
Santo Domingo, República Dominicana 1990

The Cloaking of the Statue of Ponce de León at the Torch of Friendship in Miami, Florida 2019, 2019
Digital print on PVC
Photography by Zachary Balber
45 x 30”
Project commissioned by Fringe Projects, Miami, 2019

Untitled (Machineel), 2019
Wallpaper 
Dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist

Print for the statue of Cristobal Colón at the Parque Colón Santo Domingo, RD 2021 (2021) by Joiri MinayaMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Through this process, Minaya resignifies her own work in order to create a statement on public space and national identity in relation, but not limited to, touristic and commemorative sites. The massive worldwide movement in defense of Black lives that took center stage during the Summer of 2020 demands a more just, decolonized future, and has consistently critiqued the reasons for keeping such monuments. By intervening on the statues, Minaya makes them hyper-visible and calls into question their place in our cities, and their ideological repercussions in our societies and our minds.

Joiri Minaya
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 1990

The Cloaking of the Statue of Christopher Columbus at Parque Colón, Santo Domingo, DR (January 18, 2021), 2021
Digital print on PVC
Photography by Photography by Sofía Marcos
30 x 45"
Courtesy of the artist

Print for the statue of Cristobal Colón at the Parque Colón Santo Domingo, RD 2021, 2021
Wallpaper
Dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist

Research stage commissioned by Centro León, 28 Concurso de Arte Eduardo León Jimenes, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

From the series Dictionary of Forgotten Objects (2016) by Marilyn Boror BorMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Marilyn Boror Bor is a Maya-Kaqchikel artist who works in multiple media including photography, painting, printmaking, installation and performance, with language and its inherent cosmovision being important concepts in her work. This selection from the series Dictionary of Forgotten Objects, consists of photos, definitions and contextualization of words, concepts and objects that represent a way of life and have generated a particular vocabulary within a rich and specific linguistic universe.

Marilyn Boror Bor
San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala 1984

From the series Dictionary of Forgotten Objects, 2016
Digital print on matte photographic paper
23 x 30" each
Courtesy of the artist

From the series Dictionary of Forgotten Objects (2016) by Marilyn Boror BorMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

The objects speak about trades, shapes, objects and a rhythm of life in a specific territory. In turn, these forms of life and words, like the images that represent them in the piece, fade over time, but they make us recognize, remember and appreciate the richness of a culture.

The Yagrumo's Moment Exhibition View First hall, third gallery (2021-04-17)Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Ursula Biemann's artistic work has taken her to the most remote and fragile territories and ecosystems on the planet. The video Forest Law is part of a collaboration with Brazilian architect Paulo Tavares, and incorporates views of the Ecuadorian Amazon and interviews with various people involved in protecting the forest as a natural, spiritual and legal entity.

This work of cinematic environmentalism takes place within the framework of a series of legal cases that led the forest to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to claim the rights of nature, with the forest as a living being, and the Sarayuku people as its defender.

Ursula Biemann and Paulo Tavares
Zurich, Suiza 1955 / Campinas, Brasil 1980

Forest Law, 2014
Synchronized two channel video
38 min
Courtesy of Ursula Biemann

Forest Law (2014) by Ursula Biemann and Paulo TavaresMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

What emerges is a multidimensional portrait of the forest and the relationships that have been established in and with the forest, particularly by the original Shuar and Sarayaku peoples, which calls into question the ideas of progress, development and wealth held in the West.

The Yagrumo's Moment Exhibition View Second hall (2021-04-17)Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

The works in this gallery correspond to the specific territory of Barahona in Morovis, Borikén (Puerto Rico). Taller Cabachuelas [Cabachuelas Workshop] was founded in 1987 by Evarista “Varín” Chéverez Díaz and Daniel Silva Pagán, who in the mid-1980s carried out archaeological research with Roberto Martínez in the nearby cave system, now known as the Las Cabachuelas Natural Reserve. Together they created a bohío-workshop, a batey delimited with monoliths and other stone carvings, and dedicated themselves to re-learning indigenous Antillean pottery techniques working with natural clay from the area burned in an open fire, based on reference images and archaeological findings. The existence of the Chéverez family was just one of the indicators that the so-called extinction of the indigenous people in Borikén had not happened; they’d persisted.

Various titles (2020/2021) by Alice Chéverez and Evarista "Varín" Chéverez DíazMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

The workshop became a learning center, work that Alice Chéverez, daughter of Doña Varín, has assumed and carried out since then until today, receiving visitors, giving classes and showing her creations. Her artisan work revives Taíno traditions and images based on archaeological finds and lived experience. In recent decades, the Taíno movement in Borikén and more widely in its diaspora and other parts of the Caribbean has gained strength, with greater demands for it to be recognized that indigenous peoples did not disappear after colonization, but resisted through guerrilla warfare, organized rebellions or retreating to rural areas, and they are still present.

Alice Chéverez
Arecibo, Puerto Rico 1971

Blowfish, 2020
Clay

4 x 4½ x 5”
Courtesy of the artist

Sea Turtle, 2020
Clay

4 x 6 x 4½”
Courtesy of the artist

The Rest of the Taíno (as Comfortable as Bats), 2021
Clay

3 x 7 x 4”
Courtesy of the artist

The Embrace of the Bat, 2020
Clay

3 x 8½ x 6"
Courtesy of the artist

The Jaguar, 2021
Clay

5 x 5½ x 5½”
Courtesy of the artist

Soul of the Craftsman, 2020
Clay

10 x 10 x 5"
Courtesy of the artist

Evarista "Varín" Chéverez Díaz
Morovis, Puerto Rico 1933 - 2010

The Awakening of the Matriarch, 1987-1994
Clay

5 x 4½ x 5”
Courtesy of Alice Chéverez

The Yagrumo's Moment Exhibition View Second hall (2021-04-17)Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

In this gallery we show a selection of recent works by Alice Chéverez, and two small pieces by Doña Varín, as well as by Javier Orfón and Karla Sofía Claudio Betancourt, who have both learned and shared knowledge in Taller Cabachuelas. These artists approached the workshop through Escuela de Oficios [Trade School], a pedagogical platform founded by artist Jorge González in 2014, which promotes collective learning, generating encounters with artisans, workshops and exhibitions, as well as exploring the cultural legacy of Taíno ancestry.

Karla Sofía Claudio Betancourt
San Juan, Puerto Rico 1987

the mass, 2020
Video

4:08 min

living stone, dead stone, 2020
Video

4:25 min

la reseña de cuquito, 2021
Video

4:19 min

Mother of Five Bloods (2021) by Karla Sofía Claudio BetancourtMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Through her artistic and educational work, Karla Sofía Claudio Betancourt has developed knowledge related to mineral pigments and botany in Puerto Rico, manifesting itself mainly in illustrations, texts, photography and video. Mother of Five Bloods are watercolor trays whose design is based on the fauna present in and around the Cabachuelas Workshop, now and in ancient times. Each one represents the four siblings that Itiba Cahubaba gave birth to, according to the Taíno myth. The four brothers embody the cardinal points and the four elements: the rooster is fire and South, the sloth bear is earth and North, the frog is water and West, and the bat is air and East. All the pieces were made with Morovis clay, harvested and fired with Alice Chéverez.

Karla Sofía Claudio Betancourt
San Juan, Puerto Rico 1987

Mother of Five Bloods, 2021
Watercolor trays made with local clay. Watercolors created with gum arabic, glycerin, clove oil and mineral pigments harvested in Jayuya (purple), Barranquitas (red), Isabela (yellow), Patillas (green), Aibonito + México (Mayan blue)

Deminán (Rooster): ½ x 5½ x 5"
Chromatic Toad: ½ x 5½ x 5½"
Chromatic Bat: 5½ x 5 x ½"
Chromatic Bear: ½ x 5 x 5½"
Five Star Vessel: 2½ x 4 x 4"

Courtesy of the artist

Treaty of Many Caves (2018/2019) by Javier OrfónMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

The pieces by Orfón and Claudio Betancourt are key in understanding the network of relationships that has been established from the experiences in the workshop. The existence of these works implies the transmission of knowledge, sharing of beliefs, and exploration of identity. Through video, drawing and ceramics, both artists approach the geography, family ties and mysticism inherent in the territory that the Chéverez family have inhabited ancestrally.

Javier Orfón
Caguas, Puerto Rico 1989

Treaty of Many Caves, 2018 – 2019
Antillean pottery, found objects, artist's table
Dimensions variable
Courtesy of Hidrante

Javier Orfón's artistic practice is based on an approach and commitment to specific places that he visits, investigates and connects with knowledge from multiple disciplines, such as geography, anthropology, archeology, architecture and history. The objects that emerge have been described as a "timeless archeology" about a given place. The work Treaty of Many Caves is an installation that replicates in clay, wood and found objects the myths, the caves and the family that he has gotten to know through the last three years of visits to Taller Cabachuelas.

The Yagrumo's Moment Exhibition View Second hall (2021-04-17)Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Javier Orfón
Caguas, Puerto Rico 1989

The Invisible Cave, 2020
Ink on paper
20 x 33"
Courtesy of Hidrante

The Invisible Cave is part of a set of four drawings in the form of visual poems entitled The Invisible Island. This series of concrete poems includes four lists of different geographic areas of the Puerto Rican archipelago visited by the artist in the course of his life. The drawings are made in the manner of calligrams, a type of visual poetry in which the set of words forms the figure that the text refers to. In this way, Orfón builds an almost invisible vision of a cave system from a list of names of caves visited, in addition to mentioning animals or plants that are part of those ecosystems. This piece, as well as the artistic project of which it is part, is dedicated to the memory of Esteban Valdés, a concrete Mexican-Boricua poet, who also dedicated a large part of his life to exploring caves and interpreting indigenous symbols.

The Yagrumo's Moment Exhibition View Third hall, first gallery (2021-04-17)Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Proyecto Tierrafiltra, Amara Abdal Figueroa

Tierrafiltra honors the relationship between craft and the ecosystem. It proposes a technical discourse through the local production of a water filter, this being a possible solution for a problem that affects the archipelago both in catastrophic moments and in everyday life. In the context of the exhibition, Amara Abdal Figueroa’s proposal is activated in the museum as a Taller Vivo [Live Workshop]. This is one of several simultaneous and interconnected projects exhibited that explicitly show the need for conscious and regenerative practices in life and in art.

The Yagrumo's Moment Exhibition View Third hall, first gallery (2021-04-17)Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

For Abdal Figueroa, the study of the land stems from vulnerability and intuition, entering its material and mineral composition. Tierrafiltra is based on the exchanges between people whose practices consist of collaborating with their immediate environment, currently also diving into local wood and refurbished metals. Microscopic and water quality investigations open the door to macro and socio-political questions about water and land tenure in a context of progressive privatization of our natural resources. Being a rematriated artist, she is an apprentice to all these same themes that arise in this trajectory.

Amara Abdal Figueroa

Recent test bars and mixed objects, 2020 - ongoing
Unfired and fired clay samples, pyrometric cones, table, canvas
Dimensions variable
Courtesy of Amara Abdal Figueroa 

The Yagrumo's Moment Exhibition View Third hall, first gallery (2021-04-17)Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

In the gallery, the public can dive into samples of local clays, filter-failures as sculptures, photographs, clay protocols, poems, and the first prototypes of filters. In parallel to the exhibition, a group of apprentices will participate in the further study of local clay and the development of this accessible and durable water filter. Likewise, walkthroughs and workshops related to the project will be held for the general public.

Tierrafiltra is an invitation to those who feel passionate about the land and the right to water.

@tierrafiltra #tierrafiltra

Hacer agua (2012) by Guido YannitoMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

In 2012, as part of a residency, Guido Yannitto was part of a group of artists who lived with the contingent of the Argentine military and scientific research base in the South Pole. Hacer agua is a video that documents the work of “making water” at the Cámara Base on Half Moon Island in the Argentine Antarctic. Despite being the largest natural water reserve on the planet, this resource is still precious and difficult to obtain. Seen in conjunction with Amara Abdal Figueroa’s Proyecto Tierrafiltra, we can further understand the difficulties of scarcity even in abundance.

Guido Yannitto
Salta, Argentina 1981

Hacer agua, 2012
Video
6:02 min.
Courtesy of the artist

The Yagrumo's Moment Exhibition View Third hall, second gallery (2021-04-17)Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Canoas, cayucos y balsas is an ongoing research and dissemination project on Antillean navigation. Inspired by the knowledge of the original peoples of the archipelago and in the spirit of collaboration of 19th century Antilleanism, the artist Engel Leonardo proposes to compile and put into dialogue theoretical and practical knowledge on Antillean navigation, based on the exchange and collaboration between artisans, artists and scientists, from the history of navigation of these peoples, to the techniques inherited and practiced by communities of current navigators. The project proposes to turn the gaze and the body to the sea, as being, symbol and manifestation of our Caribbean condition, as well as the creation of an Antillean fleet from different collaborations. 


Canoas, Cayucos y Balsas
Cayuco, 2019
Built in Sabana de la Mar, República Dominicana
Madera de Jabilla in República Dominicana; Molinillo in Puerto Rico
56 x 45 x 209”
Carving commissioned to the artisans Epifanio “Chano” Cancún and Federico “Ramirito” Rodríguez
Courtesy of the artists

The Yagrumo's Moment Exhibition View Third hall, second gallery (2021-04-17)Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

In the first stage of the project entitled CAYUCO Leonardo collaborated with MAOF (Diego de la Cruz Gaitán and Gabriel Maldonado Andreu), a project-place with tools founded in 2013 that was built to gather materials, look at them, manipulate them and think with them. Following a series of research trips during 2017 and 2018, between Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the group generated drawings, transcripts, photographs, and audio and video recordings, as well as a bibliography and its own glossary.

Cayuco (2020) by Ramiro ChavesMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

In 2019, Leonardo and MAOF concluded their collaboration by working on the construction of a cayuco and doing sailing tests with artisans from Sabana de la Mar, inviting the artists Ramiro Chaves and Ricardo Ariel Toribio to document the process. Curators Yina Jiménez Suriel and Sofiá Bastidas, and other friends and colleagues participated in the experience. This Cayuco and the two videos presented here are the result of this Caribbean encounter.

Ricardo Ariel Toribio
Santiago de los Caballeros, República Dominicana 1993

Cayuco, 2021
Video
10:15 min

Camera, sound and editing: Ricardo Ariel Toribio
People: Epifanio Cancún, Federico Rodríguez, Ena, Engel Leonardo, Diego de la Cruz, Gabriel Maldonado, Ramiro Chaves
Opening song: Saco
Crier: Tití bocina
Final music: Dúo los Ahijados ¨Por qué no vienes¨
Courtesy of the artist

Yamasá (2014) by Engel LeonardoMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Engel Leonardo's work crosses various media, such as sculpture, installation, site-specific interventions, and ready-mades. Based on research of the artisan and architectural forms of his native country, as well as some religious traditions and cultural exchange between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Leonardo proposes new aesthetic relationships with which to approach the history and traditions of the Caribbean region. The traditional Dominican wooden chairs serve as inspiration for Yamasá, a set of three schematic rectangular-shaped sculptures that exist as contemplative objects with an almost functional appearance.

Engel Leonardo
Baní, República Dominicana 1977

Yamasá, 2014
Oak, enamel, guano
16 15/16 x 36 1/4 x 16 15/16” each
Courtesy of the artist

The Yagrumo's Moment Exhibition View Third hall, second gallery (2021-04-17)Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Guano weaving covers part of the structure of the pieces in different configurations, like a loom or hinting at shapes and ties typical of a chair. Yamasá also happens to be a municipality of the Dominican Republic. Inspired by research and reconnaissance trips in which he gets to know the country, its own traditions and crafts, these pieces seek to integrate artisan work into the conceptual process of contemporary art. The colors of the sculptures also refer to the colors typical of the Dominican vernacular construction in rural areas.

Cabo Rojo (2016) by Engel LeonardoMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Cabo Rojo evidences the approach that the artist has to his work: making trips throughout the Dominican Republic, outside the capital city, which lead him to field research documenting forms and social relationships. In this triptych, we observe an abstraction of the geography of Cabo Rojo beach, in the south of the country. The work stems from an interest in the plantain stain and the regional symbolism of the plantain itself in relation to gastronomy, politics, economy and invasions. This is also part of the artist's formal explorations in which he relates organic materials and forms with geometric and industrial ones, in order to approach geometric abstraction from the Caribbean.

Engel Leonardo
Baní, República Dominicana 1977

Cabo Rojo, 2016
Plaintain stain and spray on cotton paper
Triptych
25 x 26 ½”
Courtesy of the artist

Discipline (2021) by Natalia Ortega GamezMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Natalia Ortega Gamez's practice is focused on the use and integration of nature, clay and natural fabrics in installations, sculptures, and design pieces through the project Los Tejedores, which is co-directed by Ortega Gamez and Ricardo Ariel Toribio. This sculpture is based on her research and her work on artisanal production in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, to develop a piece that integrates the whip as a multi-use domestic object, both fly killer and object of desire. The piece is part of a series of the same name that touches on themes of power and submission; about the punished and the punisher; in that being from the Caribbean means constantly feeling whipped.

Natalia Ortega Gamez
Santo Domingo, República Dominicana 1980

Discipline, 2021
Bamboo, coconut mid rib, and Nylon paracord
70 ⅞ x 39 ⅜”
Permanent collection Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

The Yagrumo's Moment Exhibition View Third hall, third gallery (2021-04-17)Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Allora & Calzadilla are a collaborative duo of artists who have created an extensive body of work for over 20 years that encompasses sculpture, video, photography, performance, sound, and other two-dimensional pieces. Their work has explored themes related to militarism in Vieques, the dynamics between music and power, colonialism, contemporary geopolitics, cultural artifacts, and archaeological history. The Great Silence is a piece filmed between the now destroyed Arecibo Observatory, then the second largest radio telescope in the world, and the Río Abajo State Forest, located between the municipalities of Utuado and Arecibo, where there is currently a Puerto Rican parrot conservation program. The video features a monologue, written by science fiction author Ted Chiang, in which the parrot is the one who has the floor. The piece raises the dichotomy between wanting to communicate with outer space, but not understanding each other and much less trying to communicate with animals. The parrot pleads her case and leaves us with a message for humanity.

Allora & Calzadilla (in collaboration with Ted Chiang)
Jennifer Allora (Philadelphia, U.S. 1974)
Guillermo Calzadilla (La Habana, Cuba 1970)

El gran silencio, 2014
Video 
16:32 min
Courtesy of the artists

"El momento del Yagrumo" Catalog (2021) by Marina Reyes FrancoMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Download a copy of the exhibition's bilingual digital catalog.

El momento del yagrumo Curatorial Playlist (2021) by Marina Reyes FrancoMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Listen to the exhibition playlist on Spotify. Sounds of joy, social demands and spirituality through songs by artists from Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Latin America. Musical selection by curator Marina Reyes Franco.

Education modules for El momento del yagrumo (2021) by Natalia CentenoMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Download the educational material inspired by the exhibition The moment of yagrumo. This series of guides are designed as a set of educational activities that you can do individually or in a group, at the Museum, at home or in your classroom. Each module revolves around a natural resource in conversation with the works in the exhibition. It makes us aware of the urgency of implementing sustainable and regenerative practices in our daily lives, respecting and valuing the nature of our planet earth. Developed by MAC Educator Natalia Centeno.

Credits: Story

MUSEO DE ARTE CONTEMPORÁNEO DE PUERTO RICO

BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Rafael Flores Pérez, President
María Awilda Quintana-Román, Vice President
José Negrón, Treasurer
Antonio García, Secretary
Salvador Alemañy
Rubén Méndez Benabe
Rashid Molinary
Pedro Muñoz Marín
Ana L. Rivero Iturregui
Luis Fernando Rodríguez
María Elba Torres


MUSEUM STAFF
Marianne Ramírez Aponte, Executive Director and Chief Curator

Evita Busa, Deputy Director and Education Director

Wanda Michelle Dilán, Administrator

Marina Reyes Franco, Curator

Mariela Collazo Heredia, Registrar

Pablo Serrano Otero, Preparator

Sebastián Gutiérrez and Esteban Alberty, Assistant Preparators

Natalia M. Centeno López and Joudy Santaliz, Education Coordinators

Karin Cardona, Head Archivist

Windy Cosme, Project Manager, MAC en el Barrio

Donald Escudero and Welmo Romero Joseph, Coordinators, MAC en el Barrio

Glorimar Marrero Sánchez and Javier Colón Ríos, La 18, Unidad Audiovisual

Carolina Cortés, Fundraising

Brenna Quigley, Development Coordinator

Paola Solís, Special Events

Dalila Rodríguez Saavedra, Communications Coordinator

Julia Ejarque Torres and Alexnel Suárez, Administrative Assistants

Jorge Pardo, Shop

EDITORIAL DESIGN
Ingrid Bonetti Veloz

PHOTOGRAPHY
Raquel Pérez Puig

TRANSLATION
Marina Reyes Franco
Andrew Hurley (Foreword)

MAC SPONSORS
Fundación Segarra Boerman e Hijos, Inc.,
Fondo Flamboyán para las Artes,
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,
Comisión Especial Conjunta de Fondos
Legislativos para Impacto Comunitario,
Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña y
National Endowment for the Arts,
Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades y National Endowment for the Humanities
mediante la Ley CARES,
Ford Foundation,
Neeuko/Centro de Innovación Colaborativa
de la Universidad del Sagrado Corazón,
Liberty Business

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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