“¡Ay Lola, Lola! / Arte Sacralizante” [Oh, Lola, Lola / Sacred Art] is an exhibition by Antonio Martorell and his friends from the Taller de La Playa de Ponce, on view at the Porta Coeli Museum in San Germán, Puerto Rico, in the framework of La Campechada 2023 (sponsored by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture). Other participating artists are Milton Ramírez, Pablo Padrón Carmona, Howard Kilgore, Robin Alicea, Emmanuel Gracia, and Cristal Romero, among other Taller de la Playa de Ponce friends.
All related events of La Campechada 2023 will open on Friday, November 17 at 7:30pm (AST) and will be taking place through the weekend, November 18 and 19. “¡Ay Lola, Lola! / Arte Sacralizante” opens officially on Saturday, November 18 at 10:00am. [See detailed calendar below.]
Antonio Martorell (Taller de La Playa de Ponce; Resident Artist at the University of Puerto Rico-Cayey) writes:
“¡Ay Lola, Lola!” Without the H [ay] and with the H [hay] because Lola hurts us, but we will have Lola for a long time. Lola Rodríguez de Tió, whom we call “Lola” because we hold her close even though she is buried in the Colón Cemetery in Havana, where she died in exile. And Lola is the reason for this iteration of La Campechada in San Germán, her town.
Arte sacralizante [Sacred Art], as this exhibition is subtitled, because by calling it so we want to signify visual creation that not only alludes to what is traditionally considered religious but also that which, with the transcendence that art entails, attempts to elevate the subject to a higher level of appreciation.
In this exhibition, we include traditional religious art and other that is not. In the first instance, there is a version of the Holy Family based on a painting by José Campeche, tributes to Saint Teresa of Ávila and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, “The Litanies of the Virgin Mary,” “Las monjas letradas” [The Literate or Lettered Nuns], and an interpretation of Sandro Botticelli’s “Sorrowful Christ.”
Under non-traditional sacralizing art we include the historical figure of Lola Rodríguez de Tió in the painting “La Borinqueña,” showing the premiere of the revolutionary anthem authored by her in 1868–and replaced by the anodyne danza by Manuel Fernández Juncos in 1901—and other images such as “Santos patrones y el telar 1493.”
Newer work—as religious and poetic as it is political—is the “Psalms” portfolio of the Nicaraguan poet and priest Ernesto Cardenal, of biblical origin and lacerating relevance. Of more recent production are the images “María Civico” and” Consuelo (Las manos de Andrea),” which allude both to our African heritage and to the racism and feminicide that still prevail.
These are all pieces that participate in a commemorative and sacralizing legacy in a country—ours—so given to an oblivion encouraged by ignorance. It is our duty as artists to meet this need, to fill that void. Workshops, talks, and concerts complement this exhibition, framing its importance in national life.
See video on “Ay, Lola, Lola” here:
Calendar of Events:
Friday 17 November
7:30 PM – Greetings
8:00 PM – Opening and brief tour of the exhibition: ¡Ay Lola, Lola!/ Arte sacralizante por Antonio Martorell y sus amigos.
9:00 PM – Guitar recital by maestro Josean López.
10:00 PM – Closing
Saturday 18 November
10:00 AM Exhibition opening
10:30 AM – 12:00PM -Taller Imalabra (Imagen y Palabra):
Texts by Lola Rodríguez de Tió re-imagined by Antonio Martorell and friends.
2:00 PM – Workshop and lecture by Elsa Tió (Poetry and History): “La aventura patriótica y poemas de la cantora de Las Lomas”
4:00PM -Recital by the Inter Chorale
8:00 PM – Concert by Matotumba: Ante una puesta al filo del sol
9:30 PM – Closing
Sunday 19 November
10:00 AM – Guided tour with Antonio Martorell and friends
1:00 PM – Charla ilustrada sobre arte dedicado a Lola por la Dra. Teresa Tió: Imagen de Lola.
3:00 PM – Guided tour with Humberto Figueroa: “Las Conversaciones: El arte religioso histórico y la representatividad sacra en el arte de Martorell”
8:00 PM – Concert by Riestra y los Bohíques:
Tribute to Lola Rodríguez de Tió.
9:30 PM – Closing