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Using leftover metal scraps acquired from the factory where Growth was built, Jorge Luis created this series of eight sculptures centered on forms in nature, including several references to the flora and fauna in Puerto Rico. Fish Spine (1987), for example, was inspired by childhood memories of fishing trips with his brother. The essence of these experiences is paired with what remains of the catch afterwards. Flying Fish (1987) is a companion to this sculpture. Río Grande de Loíza (1987) is name of the largest river (by volume) in Puerto Rico. It is also the title of a famous poem by Julia de Burgos, which uses the river as an extended metaphor for the sorrow of the colonial condition. Birdhouse (1986) recalls the Parque de Palomas in Old San Juan. It is also intended as a reference to the Pablo Neruda poem “Las aves maltratadas,” which describes the extermination of seagulls in the northern part of Chile. In each case, the theme of survival contrasts with the necessity for these animals to adapt to human presence and urban environments. Hummingbird (1987) captures a scene in nature in which the symbiotic relationship between flora and fauna is on display. Shangó (1987) is a manifestation of the Yoruba deity associated with thunder. The vertical structure of Palenque (1987) is meant to recall the roof comb, an adornment installed atop Mayan temples and pyramids. It is also the name of an ancient Maya city renowned for its abundance of pre-Columbian architecture. The artist had previously visited the archaeological site, thus his decision to appropriate the architectural design he observed. Of the seven sculptures, which stand at seven to nine feet, Birdhouse, Fish Spine, Hummingbird, and Palenque were exhibited for the first time alongside Growth in Harlem Art Park, to coincide with its 30th anniversary in 2015. They were later installed in four locations in Harlem in partnership with the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance as part of the NYC Department of Transportation Art Program, Arterventions.

Birdhouse, 1986

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