“La Danza” by David Zayas
(Ponce > San Juan, Puerto Rico)
All cultures reflect the expression of the people. Through them we can know how we are in coexistence. It is a photograph of our social formation. And when we leave our countries to live in other cultures, I have been able to understand that it becomes nostalgia, a space of refuge to feel at home. Something that is very notable in the city of Holyoke, being one of the great concentrations in the US.
When I travel to other countries to make a mural in a public space, it is very important for me to understand what the people in that environment are like. I aim to know the culture and try to respond with an image that accompanies them. The best way for me is to be in the place and absorb through the experience itself. Luckily for me, this was the case with my participation in Holyoke, and I had the opportunity to design while I was there.
My inspiration was to find that space of refuge and/or nostalgia for the Puerto Rican diaspora in Holyoke. Both on the island and abroad, we are identified by the way we use dance to express ourselves. We dance in many ways because music and movement are manifested in many aspects of our cultural identity.
Bomba dance is one of our manifestations with a lot of energy, you can’t dance if you don’t feel it. It is so with the movement and coordination of our flora and also with the attack jump of a rooster to fight for his life. Strong expressions that make us who we are. And I think that remembering this daily makes us strong, something essential to fight for our dreams.
About the Artist: David Zayas is an internationally renowned Puerto Rican artist whose murals can be seen on walls across the world, such as Brazil, Spain, Paraguay, Israel and the US. Zayas obtained a Bachelor’s in Painting from Escuela de Artes Plásticas de Puerto Rico in 2003 and worked as a professor at Universidad Metropolitana in San Juan, where he taught the only Urban Art course offered in Puerto Rico. For the past 15 years, Zayas has been creating murals that focus on “society — us, human beings.” In his art, Zayas heavily incorporates symbolism as a tool to tell stories about the human experience and the journey from life to death, while capturing the powerful history of his Caribbean culture.