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“Mrs. Arroyo’s work explores popular Afro-Caribbean cultures and religions with respect and admiration for they are spiritual expressions that have endured centuries of misrepresentation, repression and persecution in the mane of civilization and modernity. The exploration is specially stimulating and intriguing in visual terms because Afro-Caribbean religions are an iconic (no image), and they have adopted many visual forms from Western imagery is through the process called “Transculturation,” Mrs. Arroyo, therefore, engages in a dialogue with a multilayered reality, which translates into a rich and ever-expanding visual vocabulary.Mrs., Arroyo’s art making process potentiates her teaching practices as it requires her involvement with highly sophisticated cultural expressions (including camouflage and ambivalence) that nurture every day life in the Caribbean and elsewhere. For Mrs. Arroyo this means not only an active and critical approach to her own cultural heritage, but also the possibility of incorporating new visual riches to it. The combination of techniques such as printmaking, painting, ceramics, installation and video, underscores Mrs. Arroyo’s versatile skills, and metaphorically mirror the diversity inherent to her spiritual and cultural identity.”

Elvis Fuentes

Curator

Museo del Barrio, NY

2010

“A multifaceted artist, Imna Arroyo has explored several mediums and found excellence in the field of printmaking and multimedia art installations. Her work has focused on relevant social issues, highlighting the role of women in society, the presence and participation of Latinos in mainstream America and lately on her connection as a black Puerto Rica woman artist with her Caribbean and African roots. He seriousness of purpose has taken Ms. Arroyo to research in depth about the history of the people and events she recreates in her art. Several trips to Africa and the Caribbean, especially Puerto Rico and Cuba, have contributed to a body of work that is significant because is based on solid academic research, a perfect understanding of the history and issues at hand, and an artistic aesthetic that always as beautiful, pleasing and poetic as it is current and authentic.”

 

Gustavo Valdés

Commisaire d´exposition / Curator

ARS ATELIER, Paris, France

July 2010

“Imna Arroyo is an original artist. I mean original in the way that my good friend and Maestro Jose Antonio Martinó define originality. He says that to be original you must go back to your origins, explore them and learn from them. And Imna Arroyo has done this in a magisterial way, learning and teaching what she learns transforming it into art. Her whole persona is emblematic of that journey to the past in order to live that present and show a way to the future. It is not by chance that wood, paper, clay and fabric are intertwined in her mature work, living, throbbing trails of history and transcendence illuminating with radiant colors a collective destiny as much as an individual one.”

 

Antonio Martorell

Puerto Rican painter, graphic artist, writer

Artist in Residence University of Puerto Rico, Cayey, PR

April, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

Curatorial Quotes

“...based on her techniques and employing immediate references, the artist defines her personal register with dynamic gestures that find their parallel in the expressive representation of artists who are driven by intuitive impulses. In her evolution, these iconic graphic works have gained prominence in their narrative function in matters of universal relevance. Arroyo’s vocation for exploration goes beyond the formal and the technical, however. The artist has traversed oceans, making landfall at ancient African ports that once served as the illicit market for enslaved labor in the Americas. Her outward gaze to the sea is fixed on the consciousness of the millions of souls of Black men and women who lost their lives on the journey across the Atlantic Ocean from the African coasts to ports throughout the New World. This theme gains greater currency when compared with the migrations of thousands upon thousands fleeing wars and the corruption of rulers and paramilitaries...”

 

Humberto Figueroa

Curator / Cultural Critic
2020

 

 

 

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“... Imna Arroyo remains continually focused on those junctures where everything that is located outside the practices of hegemonic power, in the domains of the undervalued and subaltern, somehow meets. Settling within the space/time of these multiple references, she has inserted her own poetics based on life stories, autobiographical details, gender imprints, and the memories that inhabit them, all inscribed on the skin and in the reflections of the African subjects enslaved in times of modernity/coloniality and their descendants—which in fact we all are—and whose condition of existence the Barbadian writer George Lamming has identified as “a historical experience” in the Caribbean, yet one that certainly extends beyond the dominion of the plantations. From her migrant status, yet the bearer of a U.S. passport, Arroyo has succeeded in penetrating these silenced and hidden areas”.

Yolanda Wood

Curator / Historian / Cultural Critic

2019

 

 

 

2009 Installation Lyman Allen Museum, New London, CT

“Ancestral Passage”, focused on the ancestors of the Middle Passage, those who had been on slave ships going from Africa to the Caribbean who did not survive. Around the walls of the gallery was a continues mural of large scale black and white prints referring to those people in dark images that invoked them as dead spirits. But the main focus of the installation was the representation of spirits who rise from the sea. They died in the Middle Passage, but their spirits live on. The artist created each one as individual person (they were more that twenty) with a painted ceramic head. Although the eyes are strong and wide open as though they are seeing a vision, they have no hair or ears because they are spirits, an abstraction. Each bust includes the representation of specific fabric that refers to defferent African tribes, grouped in threes and fours. The two upturned hands as separate sculptures invite us to accept the gift of their offerings. These spirits all know, with out gender and they fill the sea, invoked by painted silk. The overall result of this deeply moving installation is to inspire us with the sense of survival, the spiritual legacy of the Africans who did not come all the way to the Americas to become slaves. These spirits were never enslaved.In short, Imna Arroyo as an artist, took on a highly original and difficult subject and by means of poetic use of experimental media, she successfully communicated a spiritual experience.”

 

Susan N. Platt, Ph.D

Art Historian and Art Critic, Seattle, WA