Artist: Chemi Rosado-Seijo
Venue: Embajada, San Juan
Exhibition Title: One Thousand Four Hundred and Seventy-One Rides
Date: June 3 – August 5, 2017
Full gallery of video, images, press release and link available after the jump.
Chemi Rosado-Seijo La Habana, from the History on Wheels series, 2015, video, 43 min
Images and video courtesy of Embajada, San Juan
Mapas del Cerro continues Chemi Rosado-Seijo’s long-term engagement with the community of El Cerro, a rural, working-class community embedded in the mountains of Naranjito, Puerto Rico. The project was initiated in 2002 by painting the exteriors of residents’ homes different shades of green, paying homage to the way the community has been built in harmony with the topography of the mountains where it stands. Through negotiation and collaboration with community leaders, volunteers, students and residents, over 100 homes have been painted.
In 2010 Rosado-Seijo and the El Cerro community began the arduous process of repainting the homes. In preparing the surface of the walls they scratched and peeled off layers of paint from years of accumulation, which were saved and later brought into the studio to be re-examined. By framing the readymade forms that the remnants of paint created, Rosado-Seijo developed a series of works that catalogue artifacts from the project while referencing topographical maps that the paint fragments resemble.
For Los Mapas del Cerro, Rosado-Seijo continues working with the paint remnants to create forms that reference specific and broader terrains such as the island of Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, the Americas, or the world. The fragments are presented as specimens, viewable from either side, revealing the residues from bygone years. Playing the role of cartographer and historian, Rosado-Seijo constructs narratives filled with political and geographic tensions while reminding us of the interconnectedness of human architecture. Framed using locally sourced wood from native palm trees, Rosado-Seijo further imbues the works with an Arcadian sensibility.
Born in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico, Chemi Rosado-Seijo graduated from the painting department of the Puerto Rico School of Visual Arts in 1997. In 2000, Rosado had his first solo show at the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona. He inaugurated the ongoing project El Cerro in 2002, working with residents of the El Cerro community, to present public art projects, workshops and other community initiatives. In 2005 he collaborated on a project with Art in General in which he mapped Manhattan from the perspective of a skateboarder, re-drawing the city in terms of its skating sites. In 2006, he inaugurated La Perla’s Bowl, a sculpture built with residents of San Juan’s La Perla community that functions as both a skateboarding ramp and an actual pool. Rosado-Seijo has participated in numerous exhibitions and biennials including the Whitney (2002), Prague (2005), Havana (2006), Pontevedra (2010) and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico (2014). Most recently, in May of 2015, Rosado-Seijo was granted The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Artist as Activist Fellowship for El Cerro, honoring artists pursuing ambitious creative projects with a social purpose.
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