The Puerto Rican war

John Vasquez Mejias American

Not on view

This woodcut novelette by Bronx-based artist and educator John Vasquez Mejias is composed of 96 hand-carved woodblocks, offset printed onto newsprint and bound and tied with a single red thread. It tells the story of Puerto Rican revolutionaries fighting against American colonialism in the 1950s. After the Jones Act of 1917 mandated U.S. citizenship for the entire island, the Ley de la Mordaza, or "Gag Law" (technically Law 53 of 1948), attempted to suppress the growing independence movement in Puerto Rico by making it a crime to display the Puerto Rican flag; to sing, speak, or write of independence; or to hold any assembly to discuss the issue. Vazquez Mejias, a passionate storyteller and masterful printmaker, retells this complicated—and often willfully omitted—history from the perspective of a contemporary Nuyorican.

The Puerto Rican war, John Vasquez Mejias (American)

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