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Lo Que Queda De La Carreta
Sandra Pena de Ortiz
Photograph - Photography
FEATURED ARTWORK: Activism in Art FAA group - 04/03/2013
FEATURED PHOTO: Comfortable Art FAA group - 04/02/2013
FEATURED PHOTO: Memories and Nostalgia FAA group - 04/02/2013
FEATURED PHOTO: Artists News FAA group - 04/02/2013
"Lo Que Queda De La Carreta", What Remains Of The Cart. The title of this image is very significant to any one in Latin America, especially in Puerto Rico. We came upon this old cart sitting in a region of the Central portion of Puerto Rico, actually in Arecibo. The central portion of the island is mostly rural. Merriam-Webster defines a cart as a heavy, or light weight, usually horse, donkey, ox, man-drawn 2-wheeled vehicle used for farming or transporting freight. As one can see, the small cart in the image or "carretilla" is old, wooden, out of used, left broken, unfixed, and forgotten. The wood of the cart shows all sorts of cracking signs. Cracking is caused when moisture from rain, as would be expected in a tropical environment such as that in Puerto Rico, penetrates the wood, causing expansion, and then when the warmer weather comes the wood dries causing contraction. This seasonal growth and shrinking cause long cracks to form along the length of the wood boards. Second, there is a lot of rusting, which is also a sign that the metal portions of the parts, including its wheels, have been left to the inclemencies of a humid environment. Now going back to the title, it is in reference to the 1953 play "La Carreta" or The Oxcart written by a Puerto Rican play writer Rene Marquez. The storyline of the play follows the life of a family of "jibaros" or rural peasants that in an effort to find better opportunities end up moving to the United States during the great migration of Puerto Ricans to the US.
Actually, I am deeply identified with this because my family as well were part of this migration eventually, with me being born in New York, returning later to the Island due to the fear my father, a marine merchant who had to spend months at sea away from us, to gang activity occuring close to were we lived. The story of "La Carreta" is divided in three acts. The first act begins with the family preparing to move from the countryside to San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, in search of a "better life". The second act occurs a year later in San Juan, specifically in La Perla slum, where the family has moved. It is ironic that the family moved from the rural county side beautiful region of the Island to la Perla, a place were poor non-white, or poor families have remained outcasted and separated from the rest of the society for centuries. That is, by moving to San Juan and ending in La Perla, these families robbed of their dreams for a better life. The final act takes place yet another year apart, in The Bronx, New York, where the family has ended, looking for a better life. Throughout, la carreta or the oxcart serves as their means of transportation from hope to hope as well as from disappointment to disappointment.
March 31st, 2013
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