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Art Exhibit to Explore Territories' Treatment of Nature

V.I.-Puerto Rico Friendship Day is next Monday, and in that spirit Frederiksted’s Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts is showing an exhibition later that week exploring how each territory has viewed and treated the natural world from colonial times until the present.
The exhibition opening will be 6 p.m. Oct. 15 – the last day of National Hispanic Heritage Month – at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts, located in middle of Strand Street in Frederiksted.
Because of the long history of ties and migration back and forth between Puerto Rico and this territory, Columbus Day, traditionally observed in the U.S. on the second Monday in October, was made Virgin Islands-Puerto Rico Friendship Day in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1964 under Gov. Ralph Paiewonsky. It was celebrated informally for a number of years prior to then.
Selected artists from the Virgin Islands are Johanna Bermudez-Ruiz, La Vaughn Belle, Janet Cook-Rutnik, and William Stelzer. Artists from Puerto Rico include Rafael Trelles, Luis Carle, Carmen Mojica, and Jason Mena, with Danish artist Nanna Debois Buhl representing Denmark.
Artists were called upon to take a conceptual approach to the landscape and to examine the cultural and environmental implications of development. Many choose to examine the paradoxes of paradise – such as the predicament of moving from the once largely agricultural-based economy of “cane culture” to the more current industrial and tourist-based economy.
Through a diversity of media, ranging from photography, installation, performance, and film, artists address the precarious balance of development and preservation and the tension created by the local desire to keep the islands “virgin” versus the immediate economic gains promised by development.
There will be an artists and scholars panel discussion Oct. 16th from noon to 2 p.m., with presentations by the artists and local scholars on the show’s environmental theme. The exhibition will be on view through Dec. 2. This exhibition and scholars presentation is funded in part by the V.I. Humanities Council.
For more information, hours of operation, or to arrange student tours, contact the show’s curator, Monica Marin at 773-354-2710 or mmarin33@yahoo.com; or CMCArts at 340-772-2262 or info@cmcarts.org.

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