Experiencing San Juan Through Art

May 2, 2012
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Walking down the streets of Old San Juan, one is captured by the postcard-like beauty. The gorgeous Spanish, brick buildings; the awe inspiring Catholic churches; and the famous blue, cobble-stoned streets show off a picturesque city. One can practically see old, Spanish colonists walking down the streets.
Lining the village squares are white, tented booths where merchants and local artists attempt to draw the eye. Each booth claims to have the best deals on local artwork, much of which is repeated stall-to-stall. The run-of-the-mill picture frames, Puerto Rico t-shirts, and pictures of those famous porticoes all dot the tables of the outdoor shops. The sheer amount of the chaos caused by the intermingling of tourists and local hawkers makes it hard for one to choose just which booth to enter.

Then, a small, white booth with a rack of bright, tie-dyed clothing catches the eye. Moving closer one will see the likeness of a freedom-fighter/revolutionary (depending on the point of view) and the outlines of peace signs. Turning to this artist’s paintings, the interested shopper will see a mix of political and cultural statements of the world. Upon closer scrutiny a view of the world based off of the local culture, paintings of Puerto Rican icons, like the famous porticoes or the Spanish architecture are seen, through the artist’s eyes. But, unlike the other stalls the portico are abstract and look upon a green and yellow, foreboding sky. Or one will see the artist has taken a traditional piece from the area, like a single, old style lantern on a purple background and gives it a modern art interpretation.
This drastically changes one’s view of the city from that of a static postcard to a living, breathing community. By seeing this city through a local artist’s eyes, one can feel their love for their community and an essence of a Caribbean culture. One will experience this fantastic city through a different perspective. To experience a culture through these eyes will allow one to truly appreciate San Juan.





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NanaJo said...
May 23, 2012 at 11:41 pm
Thrilled to know that their are educators out there encouraging students to publish and providing the expertise to be succssful doing so!
 
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