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Puerto Rico Rising—Resisting Paradise

February 24th, 2021

In the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, the struggle to survive is real. Natural disasters, a failing economy, corrupt leadership, and the legacy of colonialism in the Caribbean are among forces that challenge sustainability and sovereignty. Outside investments in tourism have had the effect of disenfranchising locals and fragmenting the island’s creative community. San Juan born and based, curator Marina Reyes Franco has a lot to say on this subject. Her research, writing, and curating illuminate the powerful impact of the burgeoning visitor economy.

 

In 2019, three years after Hurricane Maria, we venture to Puerto Rico for the opening of Resisting Paradise, an exhibition Reyes Franco organized with the support of Apex Art, New York. Jamaica born artists Leasho Johnson and Deborah Anzinger, and artist Joiri Minaya, from the Dominican Republic, show work engaging at the intersection of tourism, sexuality, gender, music and the internet. We record this episode inside Espacio Pública, a newly established culture space, in San Juan’s Santurce district. 

 

This segment of our Puerto Rico Rising series revolves around creative resistance to foreign fantasies of ‘paradise.’ The conversation exposes a few of the complex histories and current conditions that inform contemporary art in Puerto Rico and the greater Caribbean. 

 

Voices in the episode: Naima Rodriguez, Marina Reyes Franco, Leasho Johnson, and Joiri Minaya

 

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio

 

Related Episodes: Puerto Rico Rising—Radical LeadersPuerto Rico Rising—Resilient Artists, The Awakening, Juan Botta Makes One-Minute Movies in Puerto Rico, Edra Soto on the Architecture of Connecting Communities, Mapping Caribbean Cultural Ecologies

 

Related Links: Resisting Paradise exhibition, Espacio Pública, Deborah Anzinger, Leasho Johnson, Joiri Minaya, apex art, Marina Reyes Franco, ATLAS SAN JUAN: TROPICAL DEPRESSION, Art in America, Oct 1, 2018.

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