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A public art project in East Harlem by artist Miguel Luciano features the work of Hiram Maristany
Mapping Resistance: The Young Lords in El Barrio. Photo courtesy of Miguel Luciano.

NEW YORK, NY.- Artist Miguel Luciano, in partnership with El Museo del Barrio, is presenting Mapping Resistance: The Young Lords in El Barrio, a public art project in East Harlem featuring the work of Hiram Maristany, the official photographer of the Young Lords Party, a founding member of its New York chapter, and a former interim director of El Museo. The Young Lords were a Puerto Rican activist organization that mobilized around social justice in their communities in the late 1960s-1970s, with an emphasis on issues of health, food, housing and education. Now on view through September 30, 2019, Maristany's historical photographs of community actions by the Young Lords have been enlarged into billboard-size photo-murals throughout El Barrio (East Harlem), and installed at the same locations where the photos were taken. The individual murals are unified by text panels that give context to each image and maps that guide visitors throughout the project.

"Hiram Maristany documented the activist history of our community through a unique lens. As an original member of the Young Lords, he recorded this history from within. In this public art project, the images return to the streets, and to the community that created and inspired this history, directly. This is a living history, we are still here," Miguel Luciano reflected.

In support of Mapping Resistance: The Young Lords in El Barrio, El Museo is organizing public and educational programs, including walking tours for adults and students grades 9-12, as well as producing a map of the billboard locations in El Barrio along with historical information. The walking tours and map will help unpack these stories for new audiences while also commemorating the history and legacy of the Young Lords in the community.

Mapping Resistance is a part of Luciano's larger project, Island/Inland PROMESAS, exploring stories of resistance and resilience within the Puerto Rican community during times of crisis, from the post-civil rights era to the post-Hurricane Maria present.

In addition, new works acquired for El Museo del Barrio's Permanent Collection by artist Hiram Maristany are on view, as a part of Culture and the People: El Museo del Barrio, 1969-2019, a two-part exhibition featuring selections from the Permanent Collection and a timeline contextualizing the history of the institution with related archival materials. The exhibition, on view through September 29, 2019, reflects on El Museo's activist origins and pioneering role as a cultural and educational organization dedicated to presenting and preserving Latinx and Latin American art and culture. Mapping Resistancealso builds on El Museo's previous explorations of the Young Lords Party, including the major exhibition ¡PRESENTE! The Young Lords in New York, which was co-organized with The Bronx Museum of the Arts and Loisaida Inc. in 2015.

"Inspiring public art installations like Luciano's occupy a vital role in our community by allowing the public to learn more about the history and legacy of the Young Lords in El Barrio, and motivate younger generations to think about their role in today's civil society," said Patrick Charpenel, Executive Director, El Museo del Barrio. "El Museo is excited to support Luciano's project and highlight the incredible work of artist Hiram Maristany."

Hiram Maristany is a photographer born and raised in El Barrio, New York. He came of age in the 1960s, when young New York-born Puerto Ricans were asserting a new cultural-political identity inspired by the Cuban Revolution, the Chicago Young Lords, and the civil rights and Black Power movements. Maristany was one of the earliest members of the New York chapter of the Young Lords Party and soon became its official photographer. From 1975 to 1977, he served as interim director of El Museo del Barrio. Deeply involved in the Puerto Rican arts movement, he has documented its major developments, captured the personalities of El Barrio, and served as a mentor to numerous Puerto Rican and Latino artists in the city.

Miguel Luciano is an artist and educator whose practice explores the themes of history, popular culture, social justice, and migration, through sculpture, painting, and socially engaged public art projects. His recent work has mined the complicated relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States, at the centennial mark of U.S. citizenship for Puerto Ricans. Luciano's work has been exhibited extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad. His work is featured in the permanent collections of The Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Brooklyn Museum, El Museo del Barrio, the Newark Museum, and the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. Luciano is currently a Socially Engaged Art fellow with A Blade of Grass and an Artist in Residence within the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Civic Practice Residency Program.

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