“Las Tres Hermanas”

"Las Tres Hermanas: Art & Activism" @ Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education

PHOTO: One of several displays from the “Las Tres Hermanas: Art & Activism” exhibition @ Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education

 

(June 1, 2017) A special summer presentation dedicated to lives of three women is the result of a collaboration between the Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education and the Bronx Music Heritage Center. “Las Tres Hermanas: Art & Activism” follows the journey of Evelína, Lillian and Elba from the island of Puerto Rico to New York City through photographs, text, illustrations, and discussions.

Through mere determination and perseverance, all three sisters rose above their stations to become key figures in community activism, the arts, and education. Evelína López-Antonetty (1922-1984) would become the founder of the United Bronx Parents, Inc., and a champion for community rights, and child education in the South Bronx. Lillian López (1925-2005) became the first Puerto Rican to hold a supervisory position with the New York Public Library, and went on to initiate the South Bronx Literacy Project whose mission was to develop programs for the Spanish-speaking community. Elba Cabrera (1933- ), through her activism and work in the arts, became known as “La Madrina de las Artes.”

The gallery at Casita Maria features an exhibition of full-blown pages from an exclusive coloring-book about the three sisters, commissioned from “La Borinqueña” Superhero creator Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez by the center. Kids of all ages are encouraged to provide colors to the illustrations of the sisters, as a fun way to learn about them. At the opening reception, the sole surviving sister, Elba Cabrera, was present to meet and talk with attendees. Other family members present included, Evelina’s eldest daughter, Lorraine Montenegro, and grandson, Joe Conzo Jr. Performing out on the streets of Casita Maria was BombaYo, led by José “Dr. Drum” Ortiz. The troupe led a procession from the center to the second venue of the tribute.

At the Bronx Music Heritage Center, a more elaborate collection of photographs and artifacts highlight their exhibition. The opening was attended mostly by close friends, family, extended family and people who were impacted in some way by the accomplishments of these three sisters. Among the guests were writers, poets, artists, musicians, photographers, and activists. They included: Felipe Luciano; Humberto Cintrón; Maria Aponte; La Bruja; Manny Vega; Eddie Montalvo; Gilberto “Pulpo” Colon; Bobby Sanabria; Edwin Pagán; David Gonzalez and more.

“Las Tres Hermanas: Art & Activism” was conceived and curated by Christine Licata and Elena Martínez. Both exhibits run through September 6, 2017.

For more info about the Casita Maria exhibit, goto: http://www.casitamaria.org/las-tres-hermanas.

For more info on the BMHC exhibit, goto: https://www.thisisbronxmusic.org/our-programs/exhibits-installations/tres-hermanas/.

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