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Diasporic Collage: Puerto Rico and The Survival of a People

The Puerto Rican diaspora is a collage of overlapping histories of colonialism, resistance, and survival.

August 31, 2024–February 2, 2025
Opening Reception: September 13, 2024

About the Exhibition

Diasporic Collage: Puerto Rico and The Survival of a People explores Puerto Rican identities in the archipelago and its diasporas. Puerto Rico’s political status and geographical location situate it as a locus of global encounters and ongoing displacement.

The first major documentary initiative on the Puerto Rican diaspora in the United States was Frank Espada’s (1930–2014, Puerto Rico) photodocumentary project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1979–81. This project of over 4,000 photos and 130 interviews led to the 2006 publication The Puerto Rican Diaspora: Themes in the Survival of a People, from which this exhibition takes its subtitle.

Taking Espada’s project as a point of departure, and inspired by his careful engagement with community, this exhibition features artists who apply politics of care to how they approach the documentation of diasporic experiences related to Puerto Rico. Artists featured in the exhibition include La Vaughn Belle, Mónica Ching, Frank Espada, Alia Farid, Glorimar Garcia, Daniel Lind Ramos, María Martínez-Cañas, Luis Rivera Jiménez, Edra Soto, Brenda Torres-Figueroa, and Nitza Tufiño.

This exhibition is in collaboration with the Diaspora Solidarities Lab (DSL), a Black feminist led partnership between Michigan State University and Johns Hopkins University that supports solidarity work in Black and Ethnic Studies and creates and supports traditional and experimental scholarship across the US, the Caribbean, and beyond.

A DSL sister exhibition, Diasporic Solidarities, Rhizomatic Relations, will be on view at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, College of Charleston, South Carolina, from August–December 2024.

Diasporic Collage: Puerto Rico and The Survival of a People is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University in collaboration with the Diaspora Solidarities Lab and curated by Dalina A. Perdomo Álvarez, Assistant Curator; Dr. Yomaira Figueroa-Vásquez, Directora of The Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College (CENTRO); and Windy M. Cosme Rosario, Instructor, University of Puerto Rico – Río Piedras; with support from DSL fellows Melanie Rodríguez Vázquez, Ariana Costales Del Toro, Yafrainy Familia, Nicole Hernández, Imaida M. Durán-Mariñez, and Yuleysy Ortiz. Support for this series is provided by the MSU Federal Credit Union. The Diaspora Solidarities Lab is made possible with financial support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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