Situated inside a quiet green space on East 120th Street at Sylvan Place in East Harlem is a structure that brings together the history of Puerto Rico and the ever-changing neighborhoods of New York City. It also reflects on the five years since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.
It's a public art installation called "For centuries, and still... (anticipated completion)."
It recreates a guard tower, or Garita, in Spanish, from the colonial fortresses of old San Juan, and the construction sites New Yorkers are so accustomed to seeing, with green plywood walls and paint-sprayed "Post No Bills" stencils.
What You Need To Know
- "For centuries, and still... (anticipated completion)" is a temporary public art installation at Harlem Art Park in East Harlem
- It is the work of artists Kevin Quiles Bonilla and Zaq Landsberg
- It recreates a guard tower from the colonial fortresses of Old San Juan, built out of New York City construction fencing material
- The installation reflects on the five years since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico
It's the work of Kevin Quiles Bonilla, who grew up in Puerto Rico, and fellow artist Zaq Landsberg. They spent four months working on the project.
"In terms of imagery, we wanted to sort of combine and make a thread of two iconographies between both of these sites, New York City and Puerto Rico, which have a really long history together of migration, of community, of diaspora," Quiles Bonilla said.
"He kind of said that he wanted to do a wall, and then I started thinking about iconic things in Puerto Rico, so we went back and forth and ended up with something that I think neither of us could have come up with on our own," Landsberg added.
The structure was brought to Harlem Art Park in 75 pieces. It sits in the shadow of the historic Harlem Courthouse, and is adjacent to features like a well known 1985 work from Puerto Rican-born artist Jorge Luis Rodriguez called "Growth."
"The mission is to create a new green hub here in East Harlem that promotes the diversity and richness of the community," said Debbie Quinones, founder of the “Friends of Art Park Alliance.”
The installation will be at Harlem Art Park through the fall.