Onomonopoetics of a Puerto Rican Landscape connects locals to their island roots

The installation runs through Jan. 10 and gallery visits are by appointment.

Karen Rogers Image
Sunday, November 1, 2020
Kensington art installation connects local Puerto Ricans to their roots
A local artist is bringing the sounds of Puerto Rico to Philly in an effort to connect locals to their island roots.

KENSINGTON, Pa. (WPVI) -- You can now hear one of the most iconic sounds of the island of Puerto Rico on the streets of North Philadelphia. It's a creative art installation that invites residents to reconnect with their roots.

It's called Onomono-poetics of a Puerto Rican landscape and you can experience it along the 5th Street corridor known as El Centro de Oro.

It starts here at Taller Puertorriqueno, where there's a sound sculpture," said artist Raul Romero.

There's a series of little speakers that are activated by people when they walk by.

The coqui is a tiny frog native to Puerto Rico, and its sound can be heard everywhere on the island at night. It's a call from the male to attract the female.

"It sounds like (he whistles the sound)," Romero says.

The artist, Raul Romero, hopes the installation will help the neighborhood's predominantly Puerto Rican residents reconnect with their roots.

"I was always just so struck by the murals and the way that urban gardens feel like an extension of Puerto Rico," Romero says. "I thought well how cool it would be to just introduce that little element from a more natural soundscape to this city environment."

"When I heard the sound here, that automatically just touched my soul and just brings me back to Puerto Rico," says Johnny Carrasquillo. "The sound itself is magnificent."

The coqui is a symbol of Puerto Rico's culture.

And Romero hopes the power of the tiny frog serves as a metaphor.

We can have a loud voice, and especially now during these times, I think it's really important to exercise our voice, and go vote," he said.

The installation runs through January 10th and gallery visits are by appointment.

Onomonopoetics of a Puerto Rican Landscape

The gallery is partially open to the public and will run at a limited capacity from 1 pm to 4 pm, Monday through Friday. Visitors need to schedule an appointment.

September 18, 2020 - January, 10, 2021

2600 N. 5th Street. Philadelphia, PA 19133