NMPRAC invites visitors on surreal journey through Puerto Rico’s history

LeeAnn Trotter (NBC Chicago) writes about Raúl Ortiz Bonilla’s first solo art exhibition “Semillas,” curated by Anais Cezzané Caro, and on view at Chicago’s National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture. “Semillas” is on view through September 9, 2023. See full article and interview with the artist at NBC Chicago. [Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention. Also see previous post Semillas: Raul Ortiz Bonilla.]

“Semillas” at Chicago’s National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture is landscape artist Raul Ortiz Bonilla’s first solo art exhibition, which focuses on the seeds, or dots, he paints to visualize his memories of Puerto Rico and what it means to be an immigrant.

Bonilla immigrated to Chicago in his early twenties.

“I never feel like I’m completely here. My soul is still on the island,” he explained. “I’m a productive member of society here, but my soul can hopefully go back. “ 

The exhibition opened on Jan. 6, featuring 16 paintings that take viewers on a journey through three stages of Puerto Rico’s history – pre-colonization, mass migration during colonial periods and present day. 

Bonilla’s goal is to inspire others to look back at the past, and understand their history with the island, while better understanding the people who chose to live in a new land.  Through his signature dots, or seeds, Bonilla breaks down the island’s appearance and offers a new perspective of hope.

“I want people to open up and enjoy a series of emotions, and reaction to how we perceive that history or events that happen on the island,” the artist said.

His exhibition also deals with the movement and flow of immigrants, and the dots challenge the way we observe and process our reality.

Anais Caro, curator and director of exhibitions, thinks it’s a perfect way to encourage a dialogue about immigration. “The fact that there’s still so many political and social things happening on the island and throughout the diaspora, I think it made sense for his work to be exhibited now,” Caro said.

The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture is one of the only museum outside of Puerto Rico dedicated to promoting Puerto Rican culture. “Semillas” is on display through Sept. 9.

For full article, see https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/museum-of-puerto-rican-arts-and-culture-invites-visitors-on-surreal-journey-through-puerto-ricos-history/3069808

Also see https://www.puertoricoartnews.com/2022/12/raul-ortiz-bonilla-exhibition-at.html

[Shown above: Immigrant’s #017 “The Arrival,” 60”X52” 2022.]

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