Transformations of the spirit


Speaking of art with a message (see Roberta’s May 11 post)–or maybe just lack of irony–the exhibition of two bodies of work at Taller Puertorriqueno by Hector Mendez Caratini show Latino life influenced by African heritage. The images of Puerto Rico and South America largely show people participating in ceremonies and rites, but if you’re thinking something churchy and bloodless, you’re on the wrong track. The vision is of a world where magic transforms the everyday into a world pulsing with spirituality. Five-and-dime store pre-made bows become fabulous crowns, small plastic-framed mirrors and beads transform cheap clothes into ritual splendor, and tschotchkes and gewgaws become Christian saints or homages to ancient African gods. The people, who look nothing like your Hollywood bland beauties, radiate dignity, sincerity, passion. And the photographs (“Viva Santiago!,” right, is from the Loiza, Puerto Rico, images), filled with details aplenty behind their main focus, are not to be missed. The show runs until Aug. 2. Call Taller Puertorriqueno before you go to make sure they are open.


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