Framing Puerto Rico in the New Millennium
Tue Oct 03 2023 1:00PM – 2:30PM
The turn of the millennium marked a great historical, political and cultural shift on the island of Puerto Rico. The commonwealth experience an economic decline due to new tax laws implemented by US Congress while companies moved their production off the island. The US Navy closed its Roosevelt Roads Naval Station on Ceiba in 2000 and eventually closed its base in Vieques in 2003 after mass protests and having used the island as a bombing range for decades. In 2016, President Barack Obama appointed a financial oversight committee to Puerto Rico, “la junta”, to manage the island’s debt from abroad. In 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated the island followed by a visit by then President Donald Trump who famously threw paper towels at the desperate crowds. This was nearly 100 years after the Jones Act incorporated Puerto Rico as as US territory without extending citizenship to Puerto Ricans. Despite such tragedies, Puerto Ricans continued to raise their voices in protest. They fought for new governmental representation, organized mutual aids, invested in local agriculture, and made art that resisted or subverted colonial forms of representation. This panel brings together Dr. Rojo Robles from the Black and Latino Studies Department and Dr. Viviana Rivera-Burgos from the Political Science Department to present and discuss the political, historical and cultural background of Puerto Rico in the context of the current Mishkin Gallery exhibition We didn’t ask permission, we just did it… The exhibition, guest curated by Manuela Paz and Christopher Rivera of Embajada, revisits and honors the legacy of three historic exhibition series in Puerto Rico from 2000 to 2016 that foregrounded the independent spirit of art making across the region during a time of hopeful possibility.