In Puerto Rico, Artists Transform Loss Into Creation
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Upon entering Novenario, surrounded by art that evokes mourning, and artistic transformations of that universal experience, viewers might begin to grieve through a different light, and even find a spiritual refuge to meditate and celebrate despite their losses.
The exhibition, at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico (MAC) through April 12, provoked this feeling in me, a Puerto Rican living abroad who has experienced most of Puerto Rico’s recent duelos (mourning) from afar. Rather than centering on death, Novenario (Novena, in English) broadens the meaning of mourning as it explores how artists transform pain and loss, whether personal or collective, “into a state of creative potential in which pain, anger, and beauty insist on coexisting,” as curator Lydia Platón-Lázaro expresses in her curatorial essay.
...The loss of family members and tributes to loved ones recur across Novenario’s seven galleries. Nayda Collazo-Llorens’s poignant “Evidencia” (1999) is composed of found items collected in small plastic bags, each bag serving as a record of a moment in time. "