GRAFT | CAB
Graft (bus shelter) features a seating sculpture modeled on Puerto Rico's idiomatic bus shelters.
In the United States the five-point star is the most popular celestial symbol to represent excellence and important achievements and is well represented in patriotic culture. For this project I sourced the 4 point star motif from decorative concrete blocks from Puerto Rico, a prominent feature of the homes of its lower and middle class communities.
Sculpture modeled on Puerto Rico's idiomatic bus shelters. This sculpture features 4 point star motif of decorative concrete blocks from Puerto Rico rooted in West African Adinkra symbology. Adinkra are symbols from Ghana that represent concepts or aphorisms and are used extensively in fabrics, logos, pottery and architecture. In Adinkra, the 4 point star or Eban, is a symbol of love, safety and protection.
The representation of the 4 point star proposes consideration to the cultural value of the decorative motifs that are prominently featured in the homes of lower and middle class communities in Puerto Rico. My ongoing project titled “Graft” investigates Puerto Rican cultural memory which often masks the Black heritage of the island as folklore. However, as defended by Architect Edwin Quiles, the existence of blackness is undeniable as the architecture, civil engineering, and urban design in many of Puerto Rico’s residential sectors mimic those of West Africa’s Yoruba communities. I translate these staples of presumed Puerto Rican design as a means to expose the true origins of these architectural elements. This upends our comprehension of cultural knowledge both within Puerto Rico and subsequently the colonial lineage in the United States, knowledge still excluded from education in the Caribbean and beyond.
Additionally, the sculpture is complemented by a tabloid style newspaper - take away - featuring works by architects and artists as well as references for the development of the design.
Graft by Edra Soto
featured text / architects / artists:
WAI Architecture Think Tank / Cruz Garcia & Nathalie Frankowski
featured art / artist:
Nora Maite Nieves
featured art / artist:
collaborator / graffiti artist / centerfold:
Consultation, fabrication, materials donation:
Design engineering / fabrication / installation:
Structural engineering consultation:
Goodfriend Magruder Structure LLC
Chicago Architecture Biennial Artistic Directors / Location:
Chicago Architecture Biennial