Mapping Resistance: The Young Lords in El Barrio


“This past July, after thousands upon thousands of protestors flooded the streets of Puerto Rico calling for the ouster of former governor Ricardo Rosselló because of his administration’s offensive chat messages and a pattern of money laundering, conspiracy, and wire fraud, they succeeded. Roselló resigned on August 2. However, the saga of compromised and unsure political leadership continued after this resignation with two more governors being inaugurated in succession within a week. Still, in terms of their political leadership, the protestors refused to accept that what they had been served on their plates was what they had to eat. I have some reservations about protest wielded as a tool for compelling changes in public or administrative policy. I find that there is a tendency to valorize large public demonstrations rather than the difficult work of negotiating compromises. But in Puerto Rico, the organizers and demonstrators absolutely had a righteous cause, refused to compromise, and won. There is a similar spirit revived and reprised in the work of the Mapping Resistance: The Young Lords in El Barrio public art exhibition, which has been assembled by Miguel Luciano (who was born in Puerto Rico). Luciano has long worked in the vein of social practice, emphasizing the participation of members of his ethnic and cultural communities. About a year ago, he and I had talked about what he might do having been chosen as one of two artists to inaugurate the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Civic Practice Partnership initiative. He did what he had hinted at then: created a bridge between the consequential historical actions of artists and activists who were living in El Barrio (New York City’s East Harlem area) and had organized themselves around the material needs of the community, and the residents of the community living there now. Primarily, Luciano uses the Young Lords (as documented by the photographer Hiram Maristany) — a group of Puerto Rican activists who organized for social justice in Spanish Harlem during the late 1960s to 1970s — as the templates for civil action. …”
The Young Lords’ Fire Will Not Go Out
Mapping Resistance: The Young Lords in El Barrio ~ Images by Hiram Maristany, Presented by Miguel Luciano
Mapping Resistance: The Young Lords in El Barrio (Video)

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