Thirty visual artworks in multiple disciplines show the collective memory that shapes the brotherhood between Puerto Ricans and Dominicans in the Caribbean and in New York City in the exhibition “Borinqueya: An Evolving Travesy”.
From baroque juxtaposition and defined sketches to hypothetical videos and minimalistic installations, the exhibition takes place within the eleventh version of the Borimix Festival, the set of activities that celebrates Puerto Rican heritage in New York City during the month of November.
Miguel Trelles, 48 (Puerto Rico), and Miguel Luciano, 48 (Dominican Republic), artists based in New York over the past 20 years, had the task to cure the sample work of 30 artists, who expressed the similarities and differences of Dominican and Puerto Rican contemporary art. In individual interviews, each curator addresses the conceptualization and the aspects of work that led to this exposition.
Jesenia De Moya C.: ¿What does Borinqueya present?
Miguel Trelles: It seeks to reflect two aspects. If it’s true that those from the Caribbean seem to look alike among ourselves than to other from around the world, it’s also true that we have our variants, some bigger some smaller. The exhibit respects this diversity: what appears to be similar from the outside and what is considered different in the Caribbean. So, Borinqueya has it all…
Miguel Luciano: I believe that this show has the potential to bring these two vigorous communities even closer. It puts forward the work of artists from different generation: Dominican and Puerto Rican masters show their art together with emerging artists from the diaspora and the Antilles.
JDMC: Which contemporary art forms from Borinquen (Puerto Rico), Quisqueya (Dominican Republic) and its diasporas can we find at the exhibit?
Miguel Trelles: There is a very strong root for painting. Many of the paintings in the exhibition are figurative, because it has that Caribbean and Latin American memory of telling stories, the narrative, from wanting to see something, someone, whatever. Also, the exhibit shows the influence of a main culture diffuser like New York, because we see video, installations and performances, those art forms, fashions, tendencies well established in the US and Europe, son it’s the connecting vessel with the novelty of the First World.
JDMC: Let’s talk about the curatorial process. How did you bring these artists together?
Miguel Trelles: We invited each artist. Miguel thought of the Dominicans and I did the Puerto Ricans though, in the end, there was no defined borders between us, because I also knew some of those from Dominican Republic and he knew some from Puerto Rico. It was a four-hands work, without minding who was right or who was left. Miguel and I visited some workshops to look at the artworks and we handled some other via Internet. We said that the exhibit was about Borinquen and Quisqueya and each artist created or adapted an artwork they had already been working on, so we let them express their creativity. Both, Miguel and I, are flattered with what has been accomplished.
JDMC: And what about the museography process? How did you organize the artworks? What is the concept?
Miguel Trelles: That’s the cool part of all this, when you have all these pieces are floating and you have to put them in these two galleries the exposition has. Although Miguel and I were up there on the mounted rack, the interest and collaboration of the Dominican gallerist Lyle O. Reitzel, who represents artists like José García Cordero, Gerard Ellis and Sherezade García, contributed to the placement of display modules, which created a more simplistic, neat dynamic, that reflects the ambition that Miguel and I had for the exhibition, not variegated nor fall into the commonplace, all of us together, one on top of the other, of the baroque.
Miguel Luciano: The idea is to highlight the brotherhood that exists between them (Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic), not only in terms of the arts but also how the diasporica experience connects us.