Viento Abajo... entre muchas manos (Online)

Yarisa Colón Torres Book Cover
This exhibition has closed
November 3, 2023–March 1, 2024
Bronx Library Center
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About the Poet

Yarisa Colón Torres is a Puerto Rican poet, educator and creator of handmade books based in Queens, New York. She enjoys collaborating with artists in the development of multidisciplinary projects centered on the written word. Among her most recent artisanal poetry books are: Enredadera y colmillo (2019) and Viento Abajo (2022).

Poet’s statement: In this exhibition we are showcasing Viento Abajo, both the unique handmade poetry book made in collaboration with artists Sofía Del Mar Collins and Yolanda Velázquez, as well as a copy of the limited edition of Viento Abajo co-created with artist Miguel Ángel Rivera Reyes, Sofía and Yolanda. Also, a selection of poems from this book is on display as an invitation to approach them from a different angle…This is an opportunity to honor all the effort, held by the threads of friendship and love, that has made possible the completion of this artisanal and literary project.

 

Installation Sneak Peek

 

 

Large Display: Viento Abajo showcase
Small Display: Viento Abajo Showcase
Threads: Viento Abajo Showcase

About the Collaborators

Yolanda Velázquez is a transdisciplinary artist. Her artworks are part of public and private collections such as Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, Museo de Arte, Antropología e Historia de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Museo de la Universidad de Alicante, la Casa de las Américas en la Habana, Cuba, and the Stanford University among others. The artist develops her works at her personal studio Taller Sirena de Palo and her project Taller La Ciénaga, a collaborative space in her community within a school structure that was rescued from abandonment by neighbors from her community in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

Sofía del Mar Collins (b.1995, San Juan, PR) interweaves projects across painting, drawing, textile, installation, video, and performance. Her practice explores archetypal languages through varied surfaces that range from paper, textile, and plastic as well as spatial relations between the natural and the industrial. Sofía graduated with the Geraldine Putnam Prize for Visual Arts (2017) from Sarah Lawrence College, where she concentrated BA studies in Sociology and Visual Arts.  She completed her MFA in Studio Art at Hunter College, NYC (2021). Sofia currently lives and nurtures a studio practice from San Juan.  

Miguel Ángel Rivera is a multidisciplinary artist from Puerto Rico, where he earned a BFA from the Escuela de Artes Plásticas. His artwork has been exhibited at different galleries and international fairs such as ARCO at Madrid, Spain; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico; V Certamen Nacional de Artes Plásticas at Sacred Heart University, Puerto Rico; IV Bienal de Arte Joven at Chase Manhattan Bank; Segunda Bienal at Casa Roig; Alfonso Arana Foundation and the Museum of Art and History of San Juan. He currently resides in New York City, where he has exhibited at El Taller Latino Americano and El Barrio's Artspace PS109.

Interview with Yarisa Colón Torres

Tell me a little about yourself. What would you like people to know about you as a creative?

Over the years, in addition to the creation of handmade books and collages, I’ve offered handmade bookmaking workshops and exhibited unique books, some of which were made with discarded materials. I’ve also had the joy of collaborating with admired Puerto Rican writers such as Lourdes Vázquez and Myrna Nieves by creating limited editions of their own written work. Currently, I form part of El Taller Viento Vital Boricua, a multidisciplinary project led by Puerto Rican musician and producer Frank Ferrer. I also work together with Mario Cancel Bigay, a brilliant a ethnomusicologist and musician, who plays the Puerto Rican cuatro with outstanding mastery. Every time I listen to the poems set to music by Fran and Mario my heart beats louder! The poem “Allé”, set to music by Fran’ Ferrer, can be heard HERE.

 

What does your art/ writing process look like?  What inspires your poetry and bookmaking?

Writing has been a sinuous path towards life itself. Es parte ensoñación, parte presencia. It’s about feeling deeply, mending, uncovering, shifting perspectives…Similarly to the solitary practice, the collective creative process, always brings forth its own rhythm and gifts. What I’ve learned through collaboration cannot be replicated through any other experiences. For instance, my conversations about topics such as grief, social media, isolation, and the potential healing qualities of the creative process, with Sofía del Mar have undeniably influenced my work, specifically this poetry book.   

 

What will you be featuring in the exhibit?

This exhibition showcases Viento Abajo, the artist book created in collaboration with Sofía Del Mar Collins and Yolanda Velázquez, coupled with a sample of the limited edition, which includes the work of Miguel Ángel Rivera Reyes as well as the artists mentioned above. As an invitation to read a selection of the poems from a different standpoint, I wrote them on large pieces of paper, and Miguel Ángel worked on the installation.

Viento Abajo is an attempt to sense the wholehearted embrace from an mother to a daughter, that outspreads in all directions. This poetry book gathers poetic rituals, unspoken contradictions, and even the seemingly small gestures of resistance that nurture our dignity, even under the most precarious conditions. It is no less intimate than my previous poetry books, but it is more expansive since I strived to integrate Boricua/Caribbean imagined spaces and temporalities. 

Credits: Poems and binding for the unique book: Yarisa Colón Torres |   Book design by Yarisa and Sofía del Mar Collins. | Three original paintings and cover design for the unique book by Sofía | Poetry layout and artwork for the title page by Yolanda Velázquez Vélez. | Exhibition installation; binding, design, and impression of cover for the limited edition by Miguel Ángel Rivera Reyes |

 

What do you hope people will find or learn through your work?

This exhibition is a demonstration of my gratitude and love for my dearest cocreators. It’s an opportunity to honor this effort, sustained by the threads of friendship. Viento Abajo is dedicated to my mother, Linda Torres Bonilla, por todo y por tanto. I hope it touches those who experience it. 

 

Are there any books you think people should read to understand the exhibition better? (Or) Are there any books that you have read that have informed your work?

Some of the books that have inspired me during the development of this project are the following:

Cover of the book "Sembrando y Sanando en Puerto Rico: Tradiciones y visiones para un futuro verde" by Maria Dolores Hajosy Benedetti
"Sembrando y sanando en Puerto Rico : tradiciones y visiones para un futuro verde" by Maria Dolores Hajosy Benedetti
See More in Digital Collections
Cover of the book "Dolores y Milagros: una historia para la Inocencia" by María Dolores Hajosy Benedeti
"Dolores y Milagros: una historia para la Inocencia" by María Dolores Hajosy Benedeti
Publisher Page
Cover of the book "¡Hasta los baños te curan!: Plantas medicinales, remedios caseros y sanación espiritual en Puerto Rico" by María Dolores Hajosy Benedetti
"¡Hasta los baños te curan!: Plantas medicinales, remedios caseros y sanación espiritual en Puerto Rico" by María Dolores Hajosy Benedetti
Publisher Page
Cover of the book "Song of the simple truth: the complete poems of Julia Burgos" by Julia de Burgos
"Song of the simple truth: the complete poems of Julia Burgos" by Julia de Burgos
See More in Digital Collections
Cover of the book "Land of Many Colors and Nanna-Ya" by Maryse Condé
"Land of Many Colors and Nanna-Ya" by Maryse Condé
Publisher Page
Cover of the book "I, Tituba, black witch of Salem" by Maryse Condé
"I, Tituba, black witch of Salem" by Maryse Condé
See More in Digital Collections
Cover of the book "Behind the Mountains" by Edwidge Danticat
"Behind the mountains" by Edwidge Danticat
See More in Digital Collections
Cover of the book "La Batalla Por el Paraíso: Puerto Rico y el Capitalismo Del Desastre" by Naomi Klein
"La Batalla Por el Paraíso: Puerto Rico y el Capitalismo Del Desastre" by Naomi Klein
See More in Digital Collections

Eduardo Galeano's writings and Violeta Parra's songs have accompanied me for a long time.

Yerba Bruja by Juan Antonio Corretjer. I invite everyone to listen to the muscial homage rendered by Fran Ferrer. 

Viento Abajo has been deeply nurtured by El Taller Viento Vital Boricua. For instance, in one of our  workshops, Fran Ferrer suggested adding “Abajo” to the title, and it felt joyful to do so. Additionally, Mario Cancel Bigay’s doctoral dissertation entitled “Sounds that Fall Through the Cracks, and Other Silences and Acts of Love: Decoloniality and Anti-Colonialism in Puerto Rican Nueva Canción and Chanson Québécoise”, includes a chapter that explores Ferrer’s groundbreaking trajectory, and sheds light on recent musical and poetic collaborative work. 

 

Is there anything else you would like to share about your work such as upcoming projects?

I dream of seeing the bilingual version Viento Abajo, with Mario Cancel Bigay’s English translations, become a full-fleshed, beautiful book.

Showcase Tours and Events

Gallery Tour- Friday, December 29th, 2023 2-3pm @ BLC

Handmade Book Workshop- Friday, December 29th, 2023 3-5pm @ BLC

Showcase Closing- Friday, January 26th, 2024 5-6pm @ BLC