THE MOSAIC ART PROJECT FOR LOIZA, PR
As part of supporting the economic development, changing the Eurocentric narrative, telling the real story of our heritage and fostering social and community sustainability of Loiza the Corridor Afro is developing an arts program that includes seminars, workshops, lectures, business management, and many others.
We are posting our Mosaic Art Project for your consideration. The funds raised will be used to fund the Mosaic Art Project, including artist intervention, materials, facilitators, snacks, and every cost associated with the implementation of the project. We will provide the necessary tools and skills, so that community members learn the art and trade of mosaic making. We will also provide them with the tools to build their community based and self-managed small businesses or start-ups.
Every project and initiative at the Afro Corridor will help community members learn from the history and brilliance of their heritage, about art and learn the necessary skills to thrive in a collaborative and sustainable economy.
WHY IT MATTERS:
Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States, described by some as the oldest colony in the world is the poorest jurisdiction in the United States, even more impoverished than Mississippi, the poorest state in the North American nation.
Out of Puerto Rico, Loíza, the blackest municipality on the island is the poorest town too. Our nonprofit the Afro Corridor, a newly formed entity focusing on creating a network of local economies for local afro Puerto Rican culture, education, sustainability, and art, seeks to challenge racial inequality, racism and the discriminatory narratives on the island, starting with Loíza.
If you don’t know anything else about the location, please know that what makes Loíza distinct from any other part of Puerto Rico is the rich African heritage that permeates the town’s identity. The municipality was settled in the 16th century mainly by members of the Yoruba tribe that were kidnaped and brought to the island as enslaved laborers. In modern times, most of the music, dance, culinary traditions, and art produced in Loíza is Afro-Puerto Rican, and the town has the largest black population of the island.
What we know is that philosophy, aesthetics, cultural legacy of African practices have remained due to the bravery, commitment, and isolation that these traditions have undergone. The sporadic work available of community historians and researchers have provided insight into the preservation and continued manifestations of African based practice.
Corredor Afro has been intentionally created and designed to address the documentation, preservation, and passing on of this information, practices and support the contemporary manifestations documenting the process. Projects that address the present and future issues impacting the African descent community of Pinones, Loiza, La Cuarta Ponce, and other African descendant communities on the island and surrounding islands will be at the center of the work. Important to note is the intra/inter-island movements and exchanges that serve as added information and areas for research. The focus on preservation and archiving to assure that the memory of African based communities is documented is imperative. As the island seeks to find a path, how will African descendant communities be visible and included in the process?
Therefore, in the next three years the programs of Corredor Afro will focus on the following areas to address the issues identified above to implement a process that will network community intelligence, artists, craftspeople, researchers and scholars to make visible the rich traditions that are essential to the formation of the island/islands history, formation and creative process. The process will further help train, community residents, and creatives to sustain, develop, and enhance the traditional cultural productions grounded in community.
Corredor Afro seeks to make visible, the consistent marginality and invisibility of African descendant communities in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, by government and related official institutions, of the history and continuing innovative contributions of culturally rooted communities. These organizations that predominantly define the ethos of a nation, are also the gatekeepers to the prosperity and opportunities of its citizens and have rendered marginal the numerical majority of its population. Historically marginalized communities in Puerto Rico recently declared in massive demonstrations that have caught the world’s attention that exclusion and racial and economic elitism will no longer be tolerated. That the inherent definition of Commonwealth status and fiscal oversight as a territory of the United States is undemocratic placing the discussion of democracy at the nexus of the island’s reconstruction moving forward. Therefore, the varied local and national discourses being advocated for by marginal and disenfranchised communities will continue, as has occurred, placing culture, art, and self-determination at the center of articulating a guiding visionary narrative.