Christopher Newport University

Decolonial Aesthetics in Post-Hurricane Puerto Rican Art

Guest Lecture by Dr. Carlos Rivera Santana (William and Mary).

On 20 September 2017, Hurricane María made landfall on Puerto Rico causing unprecedented disaster. As the current 2023 Whitney Museum of New York exhibit states in its title “No existe un mundo poshuracán...” [a post-hurricane world (still) does not exist] in Puerto Rico. After hurricane María, the Puerto Rican multi-layered colonial, social and political disaster was traumatically accelerated. This crystalized the urgency of using an historic vehicle to process the disaster of coloniality in Puerto Rico: Art. Post-hurricane art functioned as a catalyzer for social movements that continues to be used by individual artists, collectives, community organizations, art projects, and other art institutions on the island and abroad, through mural art, community paintings, art exhibitions, literature, music, and many other aesthetic expressions. This presentation will describe and explain how art as a decolonial aesthetic was and continues to be used as a vehicle for (social) catharsis, that mobilizes political action, for instance, dramatically seen in the protests of over a million people in 2019 when for the first time in its history Puerto Ricans ousted their governor, and other ongoing plights against colonial rule.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023 at 4:30pm

MCM, 101

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