Puerto rico government

The National Liberty Museum examines the Puerto Rican “struggle”

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A new exhibition at National Museum of Liberty highlighting the Puerto Rican experience brings together the multimedia work of artist Johnny Irizarry. It is called “La Brega”, which translates to “the struggle”.

Museum CEO Alaine Arnott said the exhibit was part of the museum’s mission to shine a light on the struggle for freedom.

“We get to look through the lens of a very specific movement, through Johnny, through Puerto Rican culture,” Arnott said.

North Philadelphia is home to a very large Puerto Rican community. “It’s still the biggest LatinX community in Philadelphia,” Irizarry said.

“Puerto Ricans in Philadelphia date back to the late 1800s along with Cubans and Spaniards. You know, Philadelphia was a major port. It was also one of the centers of industrialization in the country.

Photo creditHadas Kuznits/KYW Newsradio

Irizarry’s work addresses themes of oppression, climate change, gun violence and colonization, but also culture, hope and spiritual traditions. “La Brega” highlights some of the challenges Puerto Ricans have faced – “rebuilding from the hurricanes five years ago; political unrest or corruption in government,” he said.

It also sheds light on the internal struggles that come with life in the Puerto Rican diaspora.

Puerto Ricans are citizens of the United States in 1917. So it wasn’t immigration, it was migration – coming from Puerto Rican territory into US territory, the mainland,” he said.

“We are a colony, basically, of the United States. And this experience presents very complex results in terms of self-identity, this understanding of duality or biculturalism, bilingualism.

The Brega at the National Museum of Liberty

Photo creditHadas Kuznits/KYW Newsradio

The Brega at the National Museum of Liberty

Photo creditHadas Kuznits/KYW Newsradio

For a separate section of the exhibition devoted to young artists, the museum is partnering with Greater Puertorriqueñoa museum in Kensington that showcases the artwork and people of Puerto Rico, Arnott said.

On April 7, the museum will hold an official opening ceremony for the exhibition, which will continue until August 15.