Cornell Fine Arts Museum looks to diversify with works from Puerto Rican artists

WINTER PARK, Fla. – The Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College in Winter Park recently welcomed brand new masterpieces to be part of it’s permanent collection.

The idea is to expand and become a more diversified museum, allowing the Puerto Rican and greater Hispanic community to feel better represented, according to curator Gizela Carbonell.

The initiative to add artists from the island of Puerto Rico and the diaspora, began in 2018 after they acquired works by Puertorican artist, Wanda Raimundi-Ortíz.

“We have a huge Puerto Rican population that continues to grow especially after the hurricane and we felt the community was not necessarily represented in the permanent collections of museums in the area,” Carbonell said.

They’re adding to their collection with works by Puerto Rican artists, Rafael Trelles “La Autopista del Sur” or the southern highway and Antonio Martorell’s “Queslaque? Es que la...”

Speaking to News 6 from his studio in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Martorell explained “Queslaque?” is slang for, “What’s up?”

His artwork, now on display at CFAM, is a representation of the local government’s response to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017-- the natural disaster killed almost 3,000 people on the island.

"The government insisted we only had, first 16 and then 64 dead while we all knew that it was up in the thousands," Martorell said.

The artist created his piece on a large black felt background -- which represents the mourning of the island and he used local newspaper obituaries of those who lost their lives after the hurricane.

"Artists are using their creativity and expression to address current events to use their platforms to express their opinions and their voice," Carbonell said. "It's an opportunity for the visitor to reflect, to have a moment to rethink their positions and their opinions."

Aside from the Puertorican masterpieces--the museum currently has on display until April 5th, 2020 Action, Freedom, Patriotism, an exhibit which explores the notion of patriotism and civic engagement.

And until May 17, African Apparel. A collection that focuses on African textiles and items of adornment.

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