Exploring the Aftermath of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico
September 20, 4-6 p.m., at Sarasota Art Museum
Torres González, a Puerto Rican native who relocated to Sarasota after the storm, tells the story of the resilient through this visually compelling book. The event takes place the same day as the storm, which happened on September 20, 2017.
“The merciless winds not only uprooted trees,
it uprooted life as we knew it.”
(August 25, 2022) On September 20, 2017, Hurricane María made landfall in Puerto Rico, while Puerto Ricans were still coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Ruthless, sustained winds of 155 miles per hour and torrential rain for more than 30 hours, resulted in an island wide blackout and a humanitarian crisis. With unprepared municipal governments, slow federal response, no access to electricity or cell service, Puerto Ricans were kept away from reality and basic necessities like clean water, food and medical care. 4,645 lives were lost. Five months after María, a quarter of the island still lacked electricity. Approximately 130,000 Puerto Ricans (U.S. citizens) left Puerto Rico, including Mara Torres González. Now a Sarasota resident and founder of M A R A Art Studio + Gallery in Sarasota, Torres González tells the story of the resilient, through “209,” a book featuring her own artwork and published by the Peppertree Press, LLC.
“209,” which refers to the date the hurricane took place—September 20—features images of Torres González’s mixed-media paintings, with photography. The book also includes a poem about the hurricane by the New Jersey poet and author Danny Shot, which Torres González will read at this event, which happens to take place on the same day as the hurricane, five years later.
“Every piece in ‘209’ has its own story, memory and lived experience,” says Torres González. “From the first visit to an empty grocery store 15 days after the storm, to politics. ‘209’ tells the story of every Puerto Rican living on the island and every Puerto Rican of the diaspora watching from afar.”
Meet Mara Torres González and listen to her speak about the artwork she created for the book at a free event on Tuesday, September 20, 4-6 p.m., at Sarasota Art Museum, 1001 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. The book will be available for purchase. For more information, email Torres González at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the artist on her website: www.marastudiogallery.com.