Art has always been his driving force; and neither distance nor personal or atmospheric difficulties were an obstacle for Mark “Kidnetick” Rivera will present his 20 foot tall sculpture called “Jibaro soy” at the “”Burning Man”” festival held last week in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada.
Kidnetick, a former member of the group Calle 13, said that “music changed my life, it opened my eyes.” Thus, integrates kinetic movement into his worksadding that “music and labor led me to what I am now, and art is reflected as a social movement.”
Rivera, who is the creator of a mural on the Paseo del Arte in Rio Piedras, was chosen to present a sculpture at the festival held since 1986, after passing through a election process in which over 800 people applied.
The plastic artist says that since “I went for the first time (to the festival) last year, I loved it and wanted to be part of the “Burning Man” family, an event attended by over 50 thousand people. Likewise, his objective was clear from the beginning, since he I wanted to “let the world know what Puerto Rico is”, he pointed out. “I did it, people loved it,” she specified.
Preparing a sculpture that shows the face of the Puerto Rican, was a task in which the artist involved music. That is why was inspired by the song “Jibaro soy” composed and performed by Raphy Leavitt and The Selecta. Rivera explained that the song “has a beautiful and powerful message; about what is the injustice that Puerto Ricans experience”, and In his sculpture he projects the struggle of the Puerto Ricans.
Mark, from the proposal he presented to the “Burning Man” Committee, expressed his interest in developing the sculpture of 20 feet tall, with a representation of the face of Ramon Emeterio Betances and some houses embedded in the chest, inspired by those of his relatives. “The jibaro is made in his neighborhood,” said the plastic artist. Additionally, the imposing sculpture has lighting, so those who observed it at night had another perspective of the work. The kettle, part of the Puerto Rican jibaro’s clothing, is an element that Rivera wanted to be “very big, very powerful,” he indicated.
Artists take inspiration from different experiences, whether external or even personal. In this specific case, the work did not have the jibaro’s work tool, the machete. The two machetes that he included in the work were added after Kidnetick submitted the proposal to the Committee, due to a personal experience.
It happens that weeks before leaving Puerto Rico, Mark received the news that he had to vacate the apartment where he lived in Santurce, since, according to the artist, it was sold by the owners to American investors. Despite the setback, he managed to vacate the space a month before leaving for California, but not before using his most recent experience to transform it and capture it in the representation of the jibaro.
“Gentrification touched me,” said Mark., but he did not miss the opportunity to enhance the details of his sculpture with the two machetes, eight feet high crossed on the chest, prepared in steel. “We are humble, we are good, but do not abuse us,” said Rivera, including that “machetes are a symbol of protection of our culture and our homes.”
Inclement weather at “Burning Man”
The celebration was affected by heavy rains, which caused the final event to be postponed, adding two days to the itinerary.
The Santurce-based artist said that “it rained for two days, but it was a spectacular festival,” he said. However, the sculpture suffered damage to the electrical part.
As a result of inclement weather, tens of thousands of people gathered for the Burning Man festival remained stranded in the Nevada desert after storms hit the area.
The helpful spirit of Puerto Ricans can be felt in every corner. Thus, the guitarist highlights that, despite having setbacks, Puerto Ricans residing in the southeastern area of the United States collaborated with the repair of the sculpture.
“They helped me, they lent me lights, solar panels and equipment and we illuminated the sculpture from the outside,” said the artist, adding that “all of us Puerto Ricans there helped each other, and it was one of the most beautiful things that happened at the Festival,” he indicated. .
The jibaro was chosen, along with other sculptures from the festival, to be exhibited from September 14 to 17 at the Reno Tahoe International Art Show in Nevada.
Mark does not rule out exhibiting “Jibaro soy” in Puerto Rico, and expresses that “I would like to make replicas and explore the idea of representing the jibaro around the world; be it the diaspora in New York and Chicago.”
“Jibaro is in the world,” he pointed out.