Susan Dunne reports on the work of Pablo Delano, whose exhibition “Arte Urbano: Pablo Delano” is on view at Mattatuck Museum, 144 West Main Street in Waterbury, Connecticut, until December 4, 2016. She writes:
In recent years, thousands of Puerto Ricans have left the island because of the crippling debt crisis. Many neighborhoods in Puerto Rico reflect this financial hardship: Streets are empty, storefronts are vacant, buildings are crumbling, the infrastructure is ancient.
Where many see squalor, the muralists of Puerto Rico see opportunity. Street art is booming in the U.S. territory. Photographer Pablo Delano is there to document it before artworks are painted over by other muralists, vandalized or destroyed.
Dozens of street-art photographs by Delano — a Trinity College professor of fine arts and native of Puerto Rico who lives in West Hartford — are assembled in an exhibit at Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury.
“There are murals and wall art in virtually every single town on the whole island, thousands and thousands and thousands of murals,” said Delano. “There is great creative energy, especially in the district of San Juan called Santurce. … Art tourism is growing. People from all over the world come to Puerto Rico to see the street art.”
Delano doesn’t just photograph murals up close, he backs up to place each mural in its urban context. Sometimes the urban setting gives a touching interpretation to the mural, and sometimes vice versa, the mural changes the perception of the setting. [. . .]