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Multimedia artist Johnny Irizarry. Photo: Rafael Damast/Taller Puertorriqueño.
Multimedia artist Johnny Irizarry. Photo: Rafael Damast/Taller Puertorriqueño.

Puerto Rican struggle and experience explored at the National Liberty Museum’s spring art exhibit

Philly’s National Liberty Museum will be channeling an exploration of struggle in the Puerto Rican experience with their Spring exhibit.

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The National Liberty Museum is a four-floor gallery of exhibitions and artwork. 

Located in Philly’s Old City, the National Liberty Museum houses both permanent galleries and alternating exhibitions.

The museum seeks to explore the meaning of liberty through contemporary art and personal stories.

Testimonies reflecting specific histories at the museum bring forward stories of “people from around the world who have done extraordinary things in the name of freedom.”

Now, a new exhibit at the museum will emphasize the Puerto Rican experience and struggle. The work is grounded in realism and everyday hardship.

The museum’s La Brega (or The Struggle) exhibit will operate in partnership with Taller Puertorriqueño to deliver discourse on the fight for liberty.

La Brega comes from multimedia artist Johnny Irizarry. Irizarry’s work often addresses oppression, climate change, colonization, and gun violence among other topics.

Irizarry served as Executive Director of Taller Puertorriqueño in the 1990s. Today, he is the director of La Casa Latina at the University of Pennsylvania, other community centers.

Irizarry’s La Brega will touch on the struggles of Puerto Rican from Hurricane Maria’s shadow to the corruption of politicians and government officials.

The exhibit also explores the diasporic experience of Puerto Ricans.

“We are a colony, basically, of the United States. And that experience presents some very complex results when it comes to self identity, to this understanding of duality or biculturalism, bilingualism,” Irizarry told KYW.

La Brega also asks observers to consider the challenges facing Puerto Ricans in society today through meditations on equity, justice, and a reimagined world.

The exhibit opened on April 7, and will remain open through Aug. 15. 

The exhibit will bring a separate section, in partnership with Taller Puertorriqueño, to showcase the artwork of youth artists of Puerto Rican descent.

The National Liberty Museum is located at 321 Chestnut St. in Philadelphia, PA, 19106.

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