30x40 oil on canvas
When I saw the photo used as inspiration for this painting, I burst into tears. It was taken in August of 2018, barely a year after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. The photo was captured by Celibee Carradero, a teacher in Vega Baja Puerto Rico. It was taken in the neighborhood of Gatos in Orocovis, Puerto Rico. Celibee's 10 year old daughter, Karianice Molina Carradero, holds the glorious flag of Puerto Rico as she overlooks the horizon of Borinquen. There she stood tall and proud, facing the grey horizons and holding our flag sealed with gratitude in the form of signatures and messages of appreciation.
Carradero, had asked her daughter's school to allow her to take Karianice to distribute 150 school bags to 5 different schools. She wanted to instill in her the importance of community and service to others. While distributing the school backpacks, she took photos, signatures and messages from the students, teachers and staff members. I was reminded of the resilience of my people and was immediately filled with hope. This is why I decided to transform the horizon from its monotone hues to colorful hues to represent what lied ahead for the island of Puerto Rico…Resilience…Rebirth!
I formed Arte al Rescate alongside my friend Erica Sanchez, shortly after the passage of Hurricane Maria. A call for artist, 103 art pieces from across the world, a free venue, a community, a collective effort of love and despair lead to raising $33,000 for the island. Through the arts, AAR has distributed over 1,500 back packs with school materials to 31 municipalities in Puerto Rico. With the contributions raised, Arte Al Rescate has sent toys for the children for Three Kings Day, repaired roofs, sponsored art programs and visual artists and also supplied beds and electrical appliances to families in need in Puerto Rico. The nonprofit organization continues to raise funds to provide school supplies and backpacks for children throughout the island of Borinquen. Our goal to reach all 78 municipalities in the island and help those that are still in need today.
There are many people in Puerto Rico and abroad, who have made possible the continuing uprising of Puerto Rico and for this we are grateful. Thank you to all the Celibee’s, to all the Karianice’s, moms and dads, abuelitos and abuelitas and our community leaders who have generously given their selfless service to our people in Puerto Rico. Today we stand strong and hold our Flag in our spirit and hearts.