Exhibition: “Novenario”

The collective exhibition “Novenario”—the result of curatorial research by Dr. Lydia Platón Lázaro—explores the role of ritual in the Caribbean. On the opening day, October 23, two guided tours will be held at 11:00am and 2:00pm by the guest curator. A face-to-face panel on October 27, at 7:00pm with artists Ivelisse Jiménez, María Mater O’Neill, Jotham Malavé, and Frances Gallardo, will be moderated by curator and artist Humberto Figueroa. “Novenario,” on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico [Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico (MAC)] located at 1057 Juan Ponce de León Avenue in Santurce, Puerto Rico, will have a recurring program until the end of March 2022, which includes seminars for teachers, family days, panels, poetry readings, and performance, among other activities.

Artists participating in the exhibition, film and performance cycles are: Gabriella Báez, Rogelio Báez, Carola Cintrón Moscoso, Nayda Collazo Llorens, Humberto Figueroa, Frances Gallardo, Sofía Gallisá Muriente, Teresa Hernández, Vanessa Hernández Gracia, Ivelisse Jiménez, Karen Langevin, Daniel Lind Ramos, Lizette Lugo, Jotham Malavé, Antonio Martorell, Elsa María Meléndez, María de Mater O’Neill, Marisol Plard Narváez, Gabi Pérez Silver, Marta Pérez, Dhara Rivera, Ivette Román, Carlos Raquel Rivera, Rafael Rivera Rosa, Rosaura Rodríguez, Gisela Rosario Ramos, Nelson Sambolín, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Merián Soto, Raquel Torres Arzola, Rafael Trelles, and Yolanda Velázquez.

Description: Novenario marks the way in which artists imagine the transformation from a state of pain and loss to a state of potentiality, where anger, pain, and beauty insist on coexisting. The exhibition seeks to highlight the work of mourning—painted, traced, photographed, woven, sculpted, danced, sung, and written—based on great devastating events of the 20th and 21st centuries. According to Platón Lázaro, “these facts have been accumulated in the artistic archive, without necessarily having made an entry into the history of local art, as fragments of perhaps the most transformative events of our brief lives.”

The selected works commemorate imaginary novena to name the work of mourning. They mark the nine months of gestation of new lives, the nine days and nights in which various spiritual communities of Puerto Rico meet to pray rosaries, play drums, or wait for the transcendence of the spirit. It is the mystic number nine of the vital cycles and the resignified territories of mourning in the work of contemporary Puerto Rican artists of different generations and practices. However, here mourning is not a historiographical account of the tragedy, but rather proposes a shared feeling that must be mediated by art and the memory of its spectators today. In this sense, Novenario exposes the rich relationship that abounds in the Caribbean with ritual, community solidarity and the challenges of self-representation related to the particular histories of the region, including traumatic circumstances that include: colonialism, slavery, racism, ecological disaster, violence, direct effects caused by the devastation of storms and hurricanes and COVID-19.

Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero. For full article (in Spanish) see https://www.arteinformado.com/agenda/f/novenario-205198

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