Homage to EI Barrio's Afro-Latinx Ancestors
Taino Towers courtyards, 221 E. 122nd St.
Bateyes I AR project features Taino Towers. Named after the Taino, the indigenous people of Puerto Rico (and also of Cuba, Jamaica, and Hispaniola), this building is one of the last large-scale, state-guaranteed affordable-housing complexes to have been constructed in East Harlem. In contrast to the cramped quarters that typically exist in New York’s public housing “projects,” amenities in Taino Towers apartments include ample living space, high ceilings, picture windows, and balconies. For this project the artist uses augmented reality to digitally recreate a Taino ceremonial plaza (commonly known as batey) over this contemporary urban courtyard. Bateyes I will reveal to the viewer aspects of the cultural heritage of El Barrio’s community, as well as the architectural and planning heritage that informed the layout of our communities and public spaces over time and how we still use these today. According to the artist, this project aims at encouraging viewers to consider the following questions: How do spaces carry ancestral memories?
To learn more about the artists visit cccadi.org/miqueridobarrio.
STEP 1. Download the free Blippar app.
STEP 2. Choose an AR site/project from the Mi Querido Barrio map. Once you are at the selected location, identify your marker.
STEP 3. Open the Blippar app in your phone and scan the image or object you wish to activate.
Wait a bit as you blipp. The content can take a few seconds to load.
Make sure the image/object is well lit, using the flash feature if necessary.
Make sure to hold your device steady as you blipp.
With this particular AR site/project: Stand in front of the security checkpoint and point at the “Taino Towers” sign. Reference image of marker for positioning. If you don’t have access to the physical marker, use the image marker on your Mi Querido Barrio Augmented Reality Guide, or visit cccadi.org/miqueridobarrio.
“Liberation is the pulse of my artistic practice. My work is informed by Puerto Rico's experience as a colony subjected to socio-political, industrial, medical, military, and environmental exploitation. Born and raised in Brooklyn, I had a third-party relationship with Puerto Rico through my parents. In my teens, I found art as a space to negotiate and reclaim a nebulous identity and history. As an adult, I traveled to the island more. Listening to the land took me beyond political dialogues and into a profound liberation consciousness. My trips to Vieques Island’s bioluminescent bay, studying its phenomena of light, revealed reflections of the cosmos and the magic of the aurora. I understood how my indigenous ancestors saw the night sky in the ocean, and vice versa. Painting bioluminescence, solar flares, and nebulae, I am able to explore the visual essence of fluido and the idea that spirits, living things, and celestial bodies consist of a universal fluid or light energy. Ever-inspired by its teachings, in 2014 I moved to Borikén—a land pulsating with ancient wisdom and that lives liberated regardless of the man-made political constructs superimposed over her truth. I build my life and work in her example.”
Yasmín Hernández was born and raised in Brooklyn to parents from Ponce, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico’s struggle against colonialism, and the pursuit of liberation globally, have informed her work over the last twenty years. Her 2011 East Harlem mural Soldaderas honors painter Frida Kahlo and poet Julia de Burgos, inspiring continued solidarity between the Mexican/Chicanx and Puerto Rican communities. Since moving from New York City to Puerto Rico in 2014, her work has been centered on restoring Borikén to a liberated state through more spiritual, holistic, sustainable practices as taught by her ancestors. Her art has been supported by the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, the Puffin Foundation, and the Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Yasmin studied art at the LaGuardia High School of the Arts and Cornell University in New York. She has worked as an artist educator with the Studio Museum in Harlem and El Museo del Barrio in New York City and Taller Puertorriqueño in Philadelphia. Today, Yasmin runs an art studio and hosts art classes for women from her hilltop home in Moca, and she also works as a K-12 art teacher in Aguadilla.