March 20, 2012
By: Jennifer Rodriguez Nieves
Type of Feature: Place/Travel
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico “El Cuartel Ballajá” is located at the capital city of Puerto Rico. According to Ballajá Web
Site, “This important historic resource built for military purposes has evolved with the passage of time becoming a cultural center, rendering tribute to Puerto Rico’s rich cultural heritage.” One of the most recent activities is taking place at “El Museo de las Americas”, located on the second floor of this well-known building. The activity: “Mayagüez: Un siglo de artistas”, started this last Thursday, March 15, 2012.
“Mayagüez: Un siglo de artistas” is an artistic exhibition showcasing the best artists of Mayagüez that have been recognized during the last century. The exhibition started, in chronological order, with the artistic works of the Medina brothers, Julio and Féliz. The first work, published in 1900, was from Julio Medina, reflecting a beautiful landscape with a calmed river. The other work in the exhibition was by his brother Féliz, painted in 1906, and titled “Guineos”.
José López de Victoria was also categorized as one of the first artists from Mayagüez who was recognized for his artistic works in the exhibition. López de Victoria has a different style and presentation from the Medina brothers. “His paintings are photorealistic; pictures of some relevant characters of the National History,” said Yamillex Montañez, one of the tour guides at the exhibition.
Women also have an important place in this exposition. The first woman ever recognized in the display as an artist “Mayagüezana” is Maria Luisa Penne de Castillo, noted for her work in nude titled: “En el estudio” (1946).
Nevertheless, Penne de Castillo wasn’t the only woman in the artistic history of Mayagüez. The “Mayagüezana” Noemi Ruiz was distinguished for her modern and abstract works such as “Noche de Bruja” and her last paintwork, “Vaivén energía de vida”.
The exhibition also showed works from the “Mayagüezanos”, Jaime Carrero, Marcos Irrizary, and Susana Herrero Kunhardt. Their impressive works have been recognized and rewarded for their unique style and interpretation. “In this exposition, Susana Herrero Kunhardt is one of the most sought by attendees,” Yamillex said. “But she is not the only one; Carrero and Irrizary have their place in the exhibition too with works such as “Furioso” (2000) and “Evolución III” (1990) respectively.”
“El Museo de las Americas” also counts with the presence of Carlos Fajardo’s works, which are some of the most recent paintings of the exhibition. One of Fajardo’s main paintworks is “Hablando Mierda” published in 2005; a work that has been described as sarcastic and humorous. “Carlos’ works represent the true reality of the actuality in Puerto Rico’s politics,” said Carmen Rosa Nieves, one of the viewers at “Mayagüez: Un siglo de artistas” exhibition.
The journey through this exposition isn’t complete, “Modern artists such as Santiago Flores Charneco, Cacheila Soto and Anaida Hernández are vital in this exhibition,” Yamillex said.
Flores Charneco is an artist, with a great versatility, who presents very colorful works. The way he makes his works and the well-structured images that he brings in his paintings were very eye-catching, and most people were fascinated with them. Within his works, the most conspicuous paintings were “Isla Oceánica” and “Fuente de la vida”, both published in 2011.
Cacheila Soto didn’t remain behind; besides being the youngest artist of the entire exhibition, her use of new techniques made her works memorable. “I like the way Cacheila captures viewers’ attention,” Carmen said. “The actuality of her works makes people feel connected with the paintings”. Her last painting, “Confrontacion” (2006), was the closing of the wall-exhibition of this important activity, but it wasn’t the end of this journey.
“Mayagüez: Un siglo de artistas” also offered an unusual exposition; it was the case of the artist Anaida Hernández. This peculiar artist goes beyond a piece of paper and a pair of paints; her work titled “Peticiones: Imagina tu realidad,” is an installation of objects that represents life itself. The basic idea of the artist is to make everyone part of her work by giving the opportunity to write viewer’s wishes within actual society and put them inside her work. “I enjoyed Anaida’s artistic work,” Carmen said.
“Mayagüez: Un siglo de artistas” showed artists that enrich Mayaguez’s history. According to Museo las Americas’ web site, “They symbolize the most visible and most recognized production over a century of artistic creation that has Mayaguez as staring center.”
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Ballajá. Ballaja, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Web. 2012
Mayagüez: Un siglo de artistas. Museo de las Américas. Web. 2012
Montañez, Yamillex. Personal Interview. March 17, 2012.
Nieves, Carmen Rosa. Persona Interview. March 17, 2012.