Vejigantes of Puerto Rico: Origins, Myths & Messengers

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In 12th-century Spain, St. James the Apostle led a militia into battle against the Moors, defeating the African Muslims and thus “liberating” Spain from their influence. By the 17th century, celebrations of St. James’ feast day began to include elaborate horned masks called vejigantes, which sported toothy beaks and playfully malicious grins, initially representing the fallen Moors while also symbolizing the struggle between good and evil. The tradition traveled to the Caribbean and, in Puerto Rico, has taken on a life of its own. Incorporating elements of African and Taíno cultures, vejigantes can be found throughout the island in a vast array of styles and sizes. Typically worn during the Festival of St. James, a massive carnival taking place before the beginning of Lent, those wearing the masks used to frighten people into repentance and going to church. Now, the mask is believed to represent resistance to imperialism and colonialism, yet remains a lasting symbol of cultural resilience.

Through Sat.,  Jan. 11, Taller Puertorriqueño proudly hosts Vejigantes of Puerto Rico: Origins, Myths & Messengers, a collection of reinterpretations of this centuries-old icon. Providing Philly with an opportunity to explore the traditions and ponder its influences, this exhibit of masks by eight artists portrays both traditional and contemporary representations of the vejigante, featuring staples in the artform like Raul Ayala and Miguel Caraballo. In today’s special event, Taller will present a panel discussion featuring Ayala, Caraballo and the other artists whose work is on display. / KENNEDY ALLEN

3pm. Free. Taller Puertorriqueno, 2721 N. Fifth St. 215.426.3311. tallerpr.org
 

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EVENT DETAILS

WHEN
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Recurring: ONCE

TIME & PRICE
3pm Free

WHERE
2721 N. Fifth St., Philadelphia, PA
One time only on 12/07/2013. .

FOR MORE INFO
Taller Puertorriqueno

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