Las Tres Hermanas: Art & Activism
On view June 1 to September 6, 2017, in two locations, Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education and Bronx Music Heritage Center (BMHC). At 6 pm, Afro-Puerto Rican music and dance group BombaYo unites the two exhibitions by leading a mobile performance of song, drum and dance from Casita Maria to BMHC. The exhibitions pay tribute to the sisters, Evelina Antonetty, Elba Cabrera and Lillian Lopez, who first settled in El Barrio and then the Bronx from Puerto Rico, where they became activists for the community and the arts.
At Casita Maria, writer Nancy Mercado, art director and graphic designer Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, and illustrator Sabrina Cintron were commissioned to produce a coloring book, available for free, based on the lives of Las Tres Hermanas. The pages of the coloring book will be printed large scale and hung on the gallery walls for attendees to color in during the run of the exhibition. The exhibit at the BMHC will focus on how the arts were a tool for social justice and feature archival images from the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, as well as the personal collections of the sisters and members of their family. The exhibit will also include artwork created by artists who have worked closely with the three sisters over the years.
Together, the exhibitions illustrate how Evelina López Antonetty the oldest sister was an activist and champion for social causes, Lillian López the middle sister was among the first Puerto Rican librarians in the New York Public Library system and was the first Puerto Rican Administrator and Elba Cabrera the youngest of the three sisters established herself as an ambassador and advocate for the arts. Opening the same night in Casita Maria’s Youth and Community gallery is ARTiculation featuring a social justice focused “Zine” self-published by Casita Maria High School students.