“Yagrumo” by Vero Rivera
(Puerto Rico > NYC)
Puerto Rican artist Vero Rivera has built her practice around her interest in the contradiction between nature and man-made spaces. According to Vero, she is inspired by shapes found in nature, especially leaves. When creating street art, she prioritizes putting her organic images in empty urban areas. “They are simply there, intervening. It’s almost as if nature is taking back the unused urban space,” says Vero. In her art, she intends to catch the spectators attention by utilizing natural elements and their ornamental qualities, while simultaneously trying to represent how human relations mimic nature’s ability to adapt, heal and strive depending on its surroundings and experiences.
While the Yagrumo leaf can have many readings and representations, in this mural, the Yagrumo represents the duality of the Puerto Rican diaspora. And just as the Yagrumo grows and takes over the ground after a disturbance, Puerto Ricans who leave the island tend to get together and create community. One such community is in Holyoke, MA, which has the largest number of Puerto Ricans per capita outside of the island.