New Hunts Point Mural Reflects Puerto Rican Identity

From left to right, Wilfredo “BIO” Feliciano, Hector “Nicer” Nazario, and Sotero “BG183” Ortiz of Tats Cru stand before the completed mural of La Borinqueña at Casita Maria on Simpson Street. (Photo by Jaime Longoria via Hunts Point Express)

On June 7, a new 40-foot mural of a Puerto Rican superheroine was revealed at the Simpson Street entrance of the Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education in Hunts Point, reports Hunts Point Express’ Jaime Longoria. The local artist collective Tats Cru painted the work which features La Borinqueña, a comic book heroine created by Puerto Rican illustrator Edgardo Mirana-Rodriguez. The mural aims to show the culture of a neighborhood in which Puerto Ricans once made up 80 percent of residents, according to Casita Maria’s associate director of creative arts programs Gail Heidel, and now make up around 30.

Miranda-Rodriguez said the work reflects current issues and concerns affecting the Puerto Rican community – such as the fiscal crisis, Oscar Lopez Rivera, the recent statehood vote and the 100th anniversary of the Jones-Shafroth Act which gave U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans – and referred to La Borinqueña as “part of this perfect storm.”

“What’s happening in Puerto Rico is a human rights issue. It’s a humanitarian issue,” said Miranda-Rodriguez, 46. “What I’m trying to do with my comic is say ‘Yes, [La Borinqueña] is a Puerto Rican hero, but these issues affecting Puerto Rico are human and universal.”

“I want everybody in the South Bronx and everyone who sees this mural to see themselves because we’re no longer invisible,” he continued. “We’re here. We can create our own heroes, and our heroes can actually be us, you, abuela, la vecina, the man pushing the piragua cart. We all have the potential to be heroes.”

Go to Hunts Point Express to find out what the mural means to Hunts Point residents and a founding member of Tats Cru.

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