HOMENAJE: The Traveling Exhibit Honoring Our Puerto Rican and Nuyorican Heroes

On view December 9, 2015 – January 9, 2016

The driving force behind the photo series is to celebrate the contributions of our living heroes in our communities and highlight the work they have done to build the figurative and literal roads and bridges for others within the Puerto Rican community who have come after them.

The exhibit pays tribute to our Puerto Rican leaders and our voices. It recognizes our heroes and introduces them to a younger generation of Puerto Ricans. Instead of requiring them to travel to a gallery, the exhibit, itself, travels from Puerto Rican neighborhood to Puerto Rican neighborhood—right to the very places where Puerto Rican and Nuyorican people eat, sleep, work, socialize, shop and rest. Each poster features a black and white portrait of a hero aged 50 and older, and tells a loosely biographical story that reveals each hero’s unique personality and idiosyncrasies.

The posters are strung together in different configurations using clotheslines and clothespins—reminiscent of how clothes were dried from tenement windows and how clothes are still dried in many places in Puerto Rico. Who would have thought that those hand-me-downs and holey socks and tattered clothes hanging from those tenement windows in the 40s, 50s and 60s in those poor, immigrant communities would be the first items of clothing worn by today’s activists and poets, leaders and CEOs, doctors and opera singers, artists and community organizers, scientists and US Supreme Court justices?

Since October of 2014, HOMENAJE has traveled every two to four weeks from bodegas to senior centers to restaurants to local schools to community centers to dance studios to health care centers all across the city and has been exhibited in historical venues such as the Nuyorican Poets Café and the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater.

Photo courtesy of Ricardo Muñiz.