Breakout Exhibition

The Mi María breakout exhibition features the voices of over 100 people who have survived Hurricane María in Puerto Rico and continue to survive its aftermaths amid a humanitarian crisis and numerous social justice issues. It can be shown either with the HAL exhibition or independent of it.

“It’s been a year and two months and people are still without power. That’s pretty insane, that you can live a year and two months with only a generator. And that’s if it hasn’t broken down. – Ana Rodríguez, San Juan

Mounted on a blue roof tarp facsimile, 100 narrator photographs are accompanied by bilingual Spanish and English quotes from their oral histories and original audio recordings of their voices narrating experiences of the hurricane and its aftermaths in Puerto Rico.

These personal stories of disaster, struggle, triumph, and hope are contextualized within the overarching theme of community responses to climate disaster. In conversation with doctors, scientists, engineers, practitioners, teachers, farmers, community organizers, neighbors, family, and friends, students at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez have studied grassroots efforts to provide clean water, combat food insecurity, understand homelessness on local and national levels, and consider medical and mental health care needs in a post-disaster space.

The breakout exhibition is a double-sided, six-foot high, five-foot wide semi-circle that is fully collapsible, packs flat, & is easy to assemble.

While the exhibition is designed to be assembled as a semi-circle, it is made to be flexible enough to fit in a number of different spaces and can be set up in a line or other formation.

The exhibition has several additional components that can be shown, depending on the displaying location’s available space and individualized needs. We have a strong multimodal component that can be shown on televisions, computers, or iPads, or can be linked to on a website. UPR-Mayagüez students have crafted a Playlist of videos and audio recordings of hurricane-related song lyrics, radio broadcasts, photography exhibitions, and collections of micro-narratives, among others.

In response to issues facing the María Generation of children, we have also curated a collection of thirty bilingual children’s books on climate and environmental issues that is supported by a teachers’ guide and written a children’s book, Maxy sobrevive al huracán. Both the book collection and our original book can be shown digitally or in printed and bound format. For more information, read our article in Anansesem.

Banner photograph: Boquerón Beach, Cabo Rojo. Courtesy of Astrid J. Zapata De Jesus.