Richmond, CA Sept 1st, 2019 For immediate Release
Island and Diaspora Resistance Opens at the EBMUD Administrative Building Gallery
An exhibition of portraits of Puerto Ricans living on the island and living in the Bay Area by Richmond artist Rebeca Garcia-Gonzalez opens on September, 12 at 5:30 PM, at the EBMUD’s Administrative Building Gallery located at 375 11th Street in Oakland. The paintings will be on display until October 16, 2019.
The show presents 26 paintings created during and after a post-Maria trip to the island. As with most of Garcia-Gonzalez’s portrait work, sitters sat for the painting process and were able to choose their clothes and poses. “Originally I wanted it to be a showcase of Puerto Rican diversity and a way to counteract the post-Maria victimhood narrative of the media,” she explained. But as the sitters talked, she got a good sense of how ordinary Puerto Ricans on the island have persevered the economic crisis engineered by the PROMESA oversight board. The concept of resistance became visible through their dress, the objects they chose, and their body language.
Once she returned to the Bay Area and began painting first and second generation Puerto Ricans living here, it became clear how fiercely diaspora Puerto Ricans hold on to their identity and how important this identity has become as the island reevaluates its relationship to the US. Some wanted to be part of the show “to help audiences understand what we look like as a result of our colonial history.”
Rebeca Garcia-Gonzalez is a painter, muralist and educator based in Richmond CA. Of her portraits, historian Richard Cándida Smith observed “she uses simple graphical realism to capture the strong personalities of the people who sit for her… they are human beings, complex and probably contradictory” Garcia-Gonzalez is most known for her oil portraits of immigrants and queer people living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She completed a BFA at the University of Puerto Rico before moving to the Bay Area, where she worked as an educator, illustrator and graphic designer.
Name: Rebeca Garcia-Gonzalez
Use the photo above for social media. Contact Rebeca for high-resolution photos.
Download a PDF with the Series Statement
A Richmond Confidential article about this series can be found here.
See the blog about the Kickstarter project that financed the trip to Puerto Rico.