Tuesday, 15 October 2002

THE ARTIST AS AN ETHNOGRAPHER: MUSEO DEL CERRO DE NARANJITO IN PUERTO RICO, CURATED BY PABLO LEON DE LA BARRA

















Museo del Cerro, Naranjito, Puerto Rico
El Cerro Museum
Puerto Rico 02, M&M Proyectos, October 2002
a proyect by the inhabitants of the Village of Naranjito and Pablo Leon de la Barra, invited by Maria Ines Rodriguez and Michy Marxuach/MM Proyectos

Chemi Rosado, an artist from Puerto Rico, had been working in El Cerro del Naranjito, a small village one hour away from San Juan, during one year, painting with the community the facades of the houses in different shades of green. The art project served to temporarily integrate the community, in a town confronted with social problems derived from small scale drug trafficking. During my stay at El Cerro, I visited all of the houses there, asking the inhabitants of the place for objects in order to create a Museum inside the old community center which was now abandoned. Objects in the exhibition documented the everyday life as well as the triumphs and dramas of the inhabitants of El Cerro, ranging from the personal to the historical, and included photographs, paintings, documents, awards, plants, furniture, and music. The Museum opened the possibility for the inhabitants of El Cerro to negotiate their own history and visibility among themselves and the visitors to the Museum.

List of Objects and Owners of the Museum’s collection:

In Main Room, (facing the entrance door, clockwise right to left from door:
• Photograph of her son Jesus Medina at the age of one year / Yvette Serrano
• Goodbye Memory for Jesus Medina after dying of cancer, May 1999 / Yvette Serrano
• Painting of Jesus Christ / found as trash on the alleys of El Cerro
• Virgin of Miracles / Rosa Lidia “Cuqui” Hernandez, gift from her grandmother
• Drawings of son and daughter Aury and Teddy, hand drawn by Jeffery an addict of “El Cerro” (now death) / Dolris Serrano
• Quinceañera Portrait / Omaira Serrano
• Coloured photograph of her parents Luis Rosado Figeroa and Dionisia Rosa Cabrero / Felicita Rosado Rosa
• Diploma for finishing the course for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) for Vietnam Veterans / Jose “Cuco” Figueroa
• Photograph of the USS Oklahoma City ship in Vietnam, 1968 / Jose “Cuco” Figueroa
• Portrait of his father in the army during the 1940s / Erling and Hector Rivera
• Portrait of her grandmother Rufina Nieves at her wooden house at El Cerro, Naranjito / Erling and Hector Rivera
• Black Angels painting on mirror / Lydia “Negrita” Carmona
• Framed image showing the native Taino Indians watching the arrival of the Spanish to Puerto Rico in the XVI century /Aurea Rodriguez
• Portrait of her son Ricardo Morales Perez, living in the Bronx since 13 year ago / Rosa Perez
• Modern painting painted by painter known as “Mafia” / Toñita Nieves
• Poster asking information on disappeared son (killed eight months later) / Mercedes Morales
Still life painting with flower and fruits / Andrea Ortiz Perez
• Photograph of her father, Daniel Perez / Toñita Nieves
• Poster of Micheal Jordan / Tony Alisea
• Volleyball Trophy (on wall) / Carlos Rodriguez
• Naranjito Volleyball Team, photo / Jose Medina Serrano
• Naranjito Volleyball Team, 1985 / Rafael Ortiz
• Portrait of horse trainer Ruben Colon in the Comandante Hippodrome / Hector Ivan Rivera
• Diploma / Carlos Rodriguez
• Naranjito Volleyball Team, 1967 / Hector Figueroa
• Naranjito Female Basketball Team / Aury Figueroa
• Photo of Inhabitants of El Cerro, 1970s / William Archilla and Charlie Montañez
• Photos of “El Nuevo Montuno” 1970s musical group from El Cerro (four of the band´s members are already dead / Jose Estrada

On grey plinth:
• Sport Trophies / Carlos Rodriguez, Damian “Pole” Rosado, Jose Medina Serrano
• Small Pilon (wooden morter for bananas) / Andrea Ortiz Perez
• Peruvian Clay Nativity Set / Gladys Velez
• Plastic Rabbitt in bottle /Jessica and Teddy Figueroa
• Ship inside a light bulb / Luli Rosa
• Photo of herself in New Jersey / Erling Rivera
• “La Flor Pequeñita” Story book / Nicolle Torres Rosendo
• Big Pilon, Banana Tostones maker, Basketball Sneaker (gift for son Jesus from a player of the Philadelphia Eagles), Binded Document containing information on “El Cerro” proyect / Yvette Serrano
• Photo of baby child, 1991 / Dessiree Maril Cheveres Hernandez
• Photo of basketball team / Jose Medina Serrano
• CD’s produced by her son Edgar (Jr.) Villanueva Morales, now death / Mercedes Morales
• Dinosaur stuffed toy and fan / Anonymous, left at museums door

On Table:
• Collection of Objects belonging to Jose “Cuco” Figueroa, including photographs of business he’s had in the past “Cuco’s Hot Dog Place” and “The Veteran’s Shine”, milk bottle, aluminium canteen, army dish set, machine for coin change in public transport, walking stick, wood level, coffee mill, mill, beer bottle of “The Three Stooges”, monkey made with Coconuts, oil lamp, peace and love collar, little car, coal iron / Jose “Cuco” Figueroa

Second Room:
(clockwise from door)
• Drawings of the inhabitants of El Cerro, made with ball pen on cigarette boxes / Jose Estrada
• Painting of Mona Lisa / Mercedes Morales
• MUSEO neon sign, broken before installation
• Snapshots of “La Patria”, veteran of the Nationalist Party for the Independence of Puerto Rico from the United States / Jose Estrada
• Plants / from the houses of Luli Rosa, Erling Rivera, Doris Serrano, Yara Figueroa, Lucy Fernandez, Elba Barrios
• Sound System with speakers made out of paint buckets / Carlitos Serrano
• Chairs / found as trash on the alleys of El Cerro
• Raegeton Soundtrack / by Edgar (Jr.) Villanueva Morales, now death

Third Room:
• Abandoned dentist chair (from when the building used to be a community center)

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