Murals of East Harlem
East Harlem/El Barrio is home to a great number of murals that build on a long tradition in Latin American art, wherein residents may express themselves and tell their stories. Protecting these significant cultural symbols has become a great challenge, but an important endeavor, in a rapidly changing neighborhood.
Modesto Flores Community Garden,
Lexington Avenue between East 104th and 105th Streets
Commissioned by Art for Change, an organization that encourages progressive social change through the arts, this mural, in the artist’s words, “pays tribute to the common histories and struggles of Mexicans and Puerto Ricans and is a call for continued and increased political solidarity between the two communities.” Hernandez was inspired by Frida Kahlo’s painting, Las dos Fridas, and substituted the Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos for the second Frida. She also took elements from photographs of the soldaderas (women soldiers) who fought in the Mexican Revolution. The words in the mural are from a poem by de Burgos, “El regalo de los Reyes”.