Connected \\ October 13, 2020
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month
I am a Latina woman working for an art institution, in a field where the Latinx community is rarely or minimally considered, often underrepresented. Therefore my identity informs every aspect of my work. It directly impacts and influences the way that I move while I navigate this space, oftentimes on my own.
The author at two years old in Puerto Rico. Courtesy photo.
Navigating through society and creative spaces — where no path has been laid out for you — allows for opportunities of growth, change and endless possibilities, along with many obstacles. Becoming a museum professional has been an experience of evolution for me. It challenged me to seek out others who inspire me. To seek Latinx people who are artists, art educators, social media influencers and museum professionals, who have gifted their contributions to the art world. Grateful for the power and magic of social media, which has given me access to a network of professionals who share in my identity. People who are showcasing how they are navigating through these same spaces.
Follow the hashtag #hispanicheritagemonth and #latinxheritagemonth to see how others are celebrating this month.
With me I carry a great responsibility, a responsibility I put on myself, to be a part of change and start from where I am.
The author and her son Cameron, cooking her abuela's recipe for dulce con leche at home.
National Hispanic Heritage Month presented an opportunity for me to dig into our collections and immerse myself in a project that would give me a deeper connection to PEM — one where I could utilize our social media platforms to highlight the hispanic heritage ties I found and assist the museum in honoring Hispanic Heritage Month. This is a month that recognizes the contributions and positive influences of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture and achievements of the United States.
In Twins (2019). A reimagined map showing the interconnected geological, cultural, and historical relationships between the nesting continental shapes of South America and Africa (and the Caribbean).
The month-long celebration begins on September 15, which represents the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua (followed by the independence of Mexico and Chile on September 16 and 18). It is a time to honor their respective cultures, and the histories behind them.
For the last few months, my energy and efforts have been invested in a special project that came from the gaps and/or lack of access I witnessed for the Latinx/Hispanic Community who make up a large portion of our community in Salem, Massachusetts. When I began working at PEM, I was an Interactive Exhibitions Attendant, a position that placed me at the forefront of interactions with guests on a daily basis. However, I didn’t see many people like me, who share in parts of my identity, walk through the doors at PEM. One of the things I found to be missing was access to our content through Spanish translations.
Ricardo Luévanos, graphic artist based in Guadalajara, Mexico @ricardoluevanos.
“..the boy wearing his identity in the form of a Veijilante Mask proudly on his head like a protective helmet. The mask is a symbol of resistance and pride!” – Adrián “Viajero” Román. Painting by Aguas De Libertad. Charcoal & graphite on wood, pastels on cardboard, 2010.
At PEM, I’m helping to launch a Bilingual Initiative as part of a solution. I grew up in the Bronx, raised in a Spanish-speaking household. I spoke English at school, but the moment I walked back into my home, I spoke only Spanish. This is a community that mirrors the one that I was raised in. This is a space that is also theirs. We recognize that there is more work to do. This is the first step of many.