Art and Culture

In collaboration with Puentes, Mexican artist Nora H. Litz aims to empower and revitalize the Mexican community through the artistic exploration of immigration and social justice in the United States and Mexico. Children, adolescents, and adults use mixed media to recount their own personal stories. They learn to use different materials and techniques, including fabric, paper, drawing, painting, pasting, printing, beadwork, stitching, weaving, poetry, song writing. In this way, together, a multi-media project recapitulates, in a microcosm of artistic expression, the fundamentals of world geography and history. 

Advanced registration required. 

Contact: Call: (267) 714-8048  |  Email: art@puentesdesalud.org

El Proyecto Grandote

Thanks to the support of two grants from the William Penn Foundation and Kaboom, Puentes de Salud is embarking on three public art projects, guided by the motivation and abilities of community members. The intention of the project–which we have named El Proyecto Grandote–is to promote and pass on the cultures of the countries from which we come to our children, to support their literacy using knowledge that comes from our cultural traditions. We will carry out these projects with the help of Puentes’ Education and Art & Culture groups, and more importantly, the collaboration of families in the community. We will develop this project using the practices and knowledge of the diverse cultural traditions represented by everyone who participates in the project. This includes among others the distinct languages of our places of origin, painting, weaving, natural dyeing, agriculture, pottery, cooking, regional dancing, embroidery, and the innumerable things that we know how to do. 

As part of these projects, Puentes will transform its space to create an environment that will help us achieve our goals. In addition to our plans for Puentes’ space, we will create, with community members, two other permanent, interactive public art installations in South Philadelphia. In total, El Proyecto Grandote will be a three-year project.

One of the most important parts of this project is your collaboration, so that together with other community members, we can decide what kinds of installations we create. There will be many opportunities to participate, either as part of our planning group, giving or participating in workshops, or sharing your ideas. 

For more information, please contact Leah Reisman at leah.reisman@puentesdesalud.org

What you will see in this video is a workshop that serves as an example of what we are developing for El Proyecto Grandote, with your virtual or in-person participation. Recently, several Proyecto participants got together (keeping our distance, and with masks) for a fabric and yarn-dyeing workshop using marigold flowers as a pigment. The marigolds were planted and grown by a community member for Day of the Dead. The knowledge of how to use marigold as a dyeing material also came thanks to a community member, who shared this example of ancestral knowledge with us. Soon we will have more workshops, virtual or in person, where we will share our knowledge and learn from each other.

 

Vidas Suspendidas

Vidas Suspendidas is an exploration of the immigrant narrative set in liminal space.  A restoration of latinidad as not only a politically charged identity, but a mystic existence. Together, the Vidas Suspendidas artists dissect their common obstacles, and celebrate their individuality through sculpture and story. 

In Vidas Suspendidas, Latinx artists from across Philadelphia shed their favored mediums and reclaim the piñata as a common cultural construction. What emerges, are life sized self portraits embodying Mexican iconography and kinetic self realization. 

See the project and listen to the audio stories:

Vidas Suspendidas / Suspended Lives

https://youtu.be/xZ87HWLPet0

 

Las ligas que nos unen

Las ligas que nos unen (“The Ties That Bind Us”)  tells the stories of children from Puebla, San Lucas Atzala, San Andrés Calpan, and San Mateo Ozolco whose parents left them in order to find work in the U.S. In creating large format, mixed media dioramas and narrating, they tell their stories of endurance, emotional traumas, and aspirations. Their powerful voices accompany a visual tour that illustrates the affliction of migration. This project also allows these children to recognize their path forward, which includes connecting with their parents and strengthening the value of their ancestry and culture. Puentes highlighted the work of Nora Litz and in particular, the “Ties That Bind Us” during the International Metropolis Conference held at the UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) in Mexico City in September 2015. (read more)

 

El Viaje de Los Niños

El Viaje de Los Niños (“The Children’s Journey”) tells the stories of Mexican immigrant children who have crossed the border to come live in Philadelphia. Through hands-on art sessions with artist Nora H. Litz, the children created large-scale dioramas that illustrated their travels and the effects of this migration on their lives and identities. Narrating their stories with accompanying audio tracks, the children take us along with them on their northern pilgrimage. Small paintings and poems by immigrant adults augment the children’s stories to fully reveal their emotional journeys.

The El Viaje project is itself a journey. It began in the Carpenter Street studio of Nora Litz, originally from Mexico City, as a collaborative exercise allowing children to acknowledge and express their feelings about crossing the desert. On a long sheet of brown paper (“the desert”), one end representing Mexico and the other, the United States, she asked the children to draw the things they encountered between locations. The El Viaje project evolved into El Viaje de Los Niños. The students, assisted by Litz and sometimes their parents, used a variety of materials, including clay, paint, and found objects, to transform their sketches into three-dimensional diorama works. These sculptures touch upon the many hardships the children faced—from leaving family behind in Mexico, to border control security, to secretly moving from “safe house” to “safe house.”

Nora Litz also created a map illustrating the amount of walking hours that it takes to walk from Mexican cities to destinations in the United States—a physical endeavor that some of the children endured during their immigration. Audio tracks and wall texts are featured in both Spanish and English languages so many audiences can access these tales. For more information visit El Viaje Project.