‘Flores de mi Pais’ to Open at Central Park’s Arsenal Gallery in September for Hispanic Heritage Month




Artist, Jorge Luis Rodriguez, La Flor de Quisqueya, 2015; painted steel; 29″H x 31″W x 5″D. Image courtesy of the artist.

Central Park’s Arsenal Gallery will open its doors to the group exhibition Las Flores de mi Pais (Flowers of my Country) for Hispanic Heritage Month, beginning September 15, 2022. NYC Parks spans over 30,000 acres and is home to a biodiversity as rich and varied as the Latin American diaspora. In its first gallery exhibition, NYC Parks’ Latino Society, aims to represent the diverse communities that make up this great city.

Installation view for Las Flores de mi Pais. Image credit: NYC Parks/Malcolm Pinckney

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, NYC Parks today announced the opening of Las Flores de mi País, now on view at the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park. Presented by NYC Parks’ Latino Society, in collaboration with NYC Parks’ Arts & Antiques division, the exhibition features artworks by more than 20 artists that explore interpretations of Latinx culture through imagery of native flora.

Image credit: NYC Parks/Malcolm Pinckney

“After 35 years of representing and supporting the agency’s Hispanic and Latino staff, NYC Parks’ Latino Society is excited to present its first gallery show and highlight the work of nearly two dozen artists,” said NYC Parks First Deputy Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa. “We are proud to add to the Arsenal Gallery’s amazing lineup of free exhibitions with Las Flores de mi País, which celebrates the artistic and creative talents of New York City’s Latinx community.”

Image credit: NYC Parks/Malcolm Pinckney

Hispanic Heritage Week was officially designated on September 17, 1968 by the 90th Congress, through Public Law 498 to celebrate the many contributions and diversity of the Hispanic community. On August 14th, 1988 through Public Law 100-402 the Congress established a month long celebration from September 15th through October 15th.

Highlighted as our featured image, La Flor de Quisqueya (The Flower of Quisqueya) artwork by sculpture artist, Jorge Luis Rodriguez. Rodriguez is no stranger to NYC Parks. In fact, he was the first Percent for Art Program artist, installing his piece ‘Growth‘ in the Harlem Art Park in East Harlem in 1985. We caught up with him this past December, when he was presented with a Proclamation from the City of New York. He described for us his thought process behind his piece, La Flor de Quisqueya:

Image credit: NYC Parks/Malcolm Pinckney
The abanico de velorio, or the traditional hand fan used during wakes, provided a model for this sculpture. The hand fan is also a ubiquitous symbol in many Latin American countries, owing to the extreme heat common to the region. I utilized discarded steel scrap materials from the nearby construction site of the Altos de Chavón resort, Dominican Republic. The metal pieces were arranged by me into compositions that preserved their original form, i.e. no cutting was necessary. The lyrics of the song “Linda Quisqueya” and music of Puerto Rican composer Rafael Hernández was an additional strong influence in the execution of the artwork and reflected in the Taino name of this sculpture (the Taino name for the Island of Hispaniola). The sculpture was exhibited at the Altos de Chavón Gallery in 1982, and again, in 2016, at Taller Boricua Art Gallery in East Harlem.

Artists responded to a call for submissions with interpretations on the theme through photographs, paintings, mixed media, and more. Works use botanicals as inspiration, symbols, historical references, and in textile designs that reflect a culture or tradition. The individuals participating in the exhibition include: Alexa Maldonado, Carlos Mateu, Cazrola & Saleme, Daniel Delvalle, Ilse Abril, Sandra Mack-Valencia, Sofia Llanes, Jorge Luis Rodriguez, Lola Sandino Stanton, Maria Fernandez, Suzanne Pemberton, Cecile Chong, Daniele Frazier, Giannina Gutierrez, Kathia Regalado, Yannina Taboada, Maryte Mercado, Alexandria Nazar, Allicette Torres, Salvador Andrade, and Zoila Andrea Coc Chang.

Las Flores de mi Pais will be on view from September 15 through November 10, 2022 at Arsenal Gallery, 830 Fifth Avenue, at 64th Street, Third Floor, NYC.

Las Flores de mi País (“The Flowers of my Country”) is presented by NYC Parks’ Latino Society. A virtual exhibition tour and discussion will be co-hosted with GreenThumb on Tuesday September 27 at 6 p.m. Please RSVP to attend.

Mask-wearing is required to enter the gallery, and guests are required to sign in. Groups of five or more people can call (212) 360-8114 or email artandantiquities@parks.nyc.gov to pre-register.

Installation view for Las Flores de mi Pais. Image credit: NYC Parks/Malcolm Pinckney

This exhibition is FREE and open to the public. For more information, visit nyc.gov/parks/art.

*The Arsenal Gallery will be closed October 10, 2022 and November 8, 2022.

Follow Jorge Luis Rodriguez on Facebook for additional exhibitions in September and October of this year including Just Above Midtown: 1974 to the Present, opening at MoMA in October. Stay tuned.