West Philadelphia-based artist Raúl José Romero’s exhibition Onomonopoetics of a Puerto Rican Landscape sparks a quest exploring how people in Miami connect back to their homeland, and in the case of the artist, Puerto Rico. In the installation, sound sculptures installed on Locust Projects’ exterior will create an acoustic ecology by introducing sound recordings of el Coquí alongside the everyday urban soundscape. A small iconic frog native to Puerto Rico, el Coquí is an onomatopoeia named by the Tainos natives to Puerto Rico.
As a first-generation Puerto Rican immigrant growing up in Florida, the question of connecting to his homeland has lingered in forming Romero’s identity. Memories of visiting Puerto Rico include the sounds of el Coquí and images of the Arecibo Observatory, the largo telescope in the world. In this project, Locust Projects will be transformed into a site to transmit calls of el Coquí into the community, exploring how we connect to our homeland and each other. The installation provides a platform for visitors to not only learn about each other, but also connect stories from home in a time where many people are looking to establish new homes. The use of sound encourages listening and promotes an exchange of memories, ideas, and compassion.
Onomonopoetics of a Latino Landscape has been awarded $5,000 from the Velocity Fund Grant, an Andy Warhol Foundation regional regranting program grant for its iteration in Philadelphia and a NALAC Fund for the Arts (NFA) grant.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Raúl José Romero lives in West Philadelphia. He graduated from Yale University School of Art with an MFA in Sculpture, 2018. He currently works at the University of the Arts with the position of Film Coordinator and Lecturer teaching sound art. Raúl has exhibited at The Kitchen in New York City, NY. The Denver Contemporary Art Museum, Transformer Gallery in Washington D.C., Pentimenti Gallery in Philadelphia, PA, The Tampa Museum of Art, he was awarded the William and Nancy Oliver Gallery Prize by Anne Pasternak for the 32nd Annual Juried Art Exhibition at The Contemporary Art Museum in Tampa, FL.
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