There is nothing more important in those hectic days than to continue to observe and celebrate the achievements of our communities, especially when it comes to moments in history, such as Juneteenth.
In addition to observing emancipation from slavery, this date celebrates culture and highlights the struggle that still lies ahead.
And there’s no better way to bring all these feelings together than through art.
Afro-Latin artist Luis-Miguel Caraballo has decided to put the paintbrushes to work on a mural inspired by the Juneteenth story and will be installed this Friday, June 17 in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Originally from Elizabeth, New Jersey, Luis-Miguel Caraballo is a Puerto Rican artist whose work was deeply influenced by his roots in the city.
His visual language combines the contemporary with street art and transforms the murals into a platform to “express the voice of those who cannot”.
“My work is meant to educate, inspire and generate stimulating conversations,” Luis-Miguel told BELatina in an exclusive interview. “My mission is to redefine what it means to be an Afro-Latino in the art world.”
On the eve of his installation to celebrate this June 19, Luis-Miguel told us about his career, his inspiration and his commitment to his work.
Here is what he told us:
What challenges and successes have you encountered throughout your career as an artist?
Some challenges I’ve encountered throughout my career as an artist include adjusting to life as an entrepreneur. Most don’t realize that being an artist means being in business for yourself. I quickly realized that I had to treat my practice like any other business, managing products, customer service and finances.
What was your inspiration behind this project?
The inspiration behind this project is to bring additional awareness to Juneteenth and celebrate its importance. This is the second year that we have completed an asphalt mural in one of the city’s busiest intersections. Closing the intersection to allow the community to create a mural recognizing Juneteenth is a fantastic initiative to help get things done.
What does Juneteenth mean to Luis-Miguel Caraballo?
Juneteenth is a date that signifies hope, freedom and liberation. As an Afro-Latino, I am proud to be part of a celebration helping to raise awareness of such a historic and significant date in American history.
Are you working on future projects?
Currently I am working on a series of paintings centered on the culture of Puerto Rico and its status in the United States. There has always been a complicated relationship between the two, and this series aims to explore its history and help educate other Latinos about these issues.
Do you have anything else to share with the BELatina News audience?
I would like to encourage the BELatina community to support Latinx arts! There are so many talented Latinx creators who need a voice. Something as simple as a like, share or repost goes a long way! And if possible, buy a painting or two!