Puerto Rican born, Minnesota based artist Ricardo Levins Morales exhibits his work in Hartford.
Ricardo Levins Morales / Trinity College (Broad Street Gallery) / Broad Street • Hartford
Exhibition Dates: 12, Mar 2011 – 2, Apr 2011
Artist Reception: Saturday, Apr 2 • 2pm – 6pm
Artist Talk: Monday, Apr 4 • 7pm / La Paloma Sabanera / 405 Capital Avenue / Hartford, CT
Ricardo Levins Morales began drawing pictures of chickens on the small Puerto Rican farm where he spent his childhood. Raised in the anti-colonial movement, he absorbed critical politics along with the sun, rain, and rhythms of his homeland.
He experienced adolescence in Chicago at a time of political ferment. He was active in the movement to end the war against Viet Nam as well as in support of the Black Panther Party, the Puerto Rican Young Lords, school strikes, and community struggles. He drew his first leaflet for a Black Panther fundraiser.
After dropping out of High School worked in a variety of manufacturing and service industries (and racked up 26,000 miles of hitch-hiking). He became involved with the labor movement during a union organizing drive at the Boston hospital where he worked as a janitor.
Moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1976, he worked in service and home weatherization jobs while teaching himself silk screen printing—eventually finding work as a printer. In 1979, joining with other activist artists, he helped found the Northland Poster Collective which sought to link artists with social justice organizing. During this time he was involved in environmental organizing with mobilized small farmers in central Minnesota, support for the resistance to the Chilean dictatorship, and in producing concerts with political Latin American musicians. In this work he met Paula Holden with whom he has raised two children, Olivia and Manuel.
He continues to work at Northland, which has become an artistic center for the United States labor movement and works with a variety of grassroots struggles. He continues to be involved in activist, educational, and artistic projects in the labor movement.
Ricardo considers an organizer as much as an artist and emphasizes building organic relationships with the movements and communities for whom he produces art.