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Cerra All-Stars

By Hildelisa Díaz
It seems like no coincidence that Cerra All-Stars opened just a few weeks before La Fania All-Stars reunion concert, but it is. The exhibition played like a great compilation with every piece telling the story of a song. Decades ago, Cerra street was home to major music labels and distributors, including Fania Records. Now most of that only lives in memories, and thats why 20/20 wanted to pay homage to their history.

A select group of artist was chosen to make one song their own, among them: 
Aby Ruiz,
Abey Charrón,
 Admín Torres
, Alexis Bousquet,Beto Torrens, Bobby Cruz, Danny Rivera, David Zayas, Epic Uno, Félix De Portu, 
Freddy Idoña, Guillermo Torres Ávila,
Izam Zawahra, Juan Alberto Negroni, Leila Mattina, Luis Alejandro Rodríguez, Nelson Figueroa, Omar Velázquez, 
Orlando Santiago, Roberto Tirado, Rosenda Álvarez-Faro, Supakid, The Stencil Network, Tony Rodríguez, Zinthia Vázquez.

“Sofrito” by Betto Torrens included a painting, also made into a label for jars of the typical condiment. Tony Rodriguez's installation “Pa' rociar a las muchachas” is an altar to love, war and “Aguanile”. Abey Charrón's piece  “Indestructible”,as many other if his pieces, was created in an old piece of zinc sheet. Bobby Cruz portrayed Fania members as superheroes in his painting “Fania Vol.1”. “Quitate tu pa' ponerme yo” by David Zayas it's a great illustration of the war of power portrayed in the song by the same name.  “El Cantante” by Orlando Santiago creates a picture of the late Hector Lavoe made up of figures and words that created a history of his life.

A somewhat different proposal came from Izam Zawahra. In Zawahra's video for “Familias distintas, tragedias iguales” lyrics played like in any karaoke bar except in the background played a security camera video of the brutal killing of two policemen.

Aby Ruiz and Omar Velázquez used ready-mades to create their pieces. Ruiz a presents a doll wrapped in plastic and enclosed in a acrylic box as the “Chica Plástica", while VelázquezVelázquez uses a toy car and adds music to create the “Carrito Cocolo”.

Juan Benet (Epic Uno) had a literal approach to his quest. He created typographic graffiti art with the words to “Buscando Guayaba” by Rubén Blades. While Daniela Paola (Supakid), captured a photography sequence for “Quién vino primero, el huevo o Lavoe?”.

Special guest and Fania's original illustrator, Jorge Vargas presented his unedited piece “Las cosas que recuerdo” captures the essence of it all. It's history, it's passion, i'ts music, it's everything La Fania was.
It was an exhibition made to revive this history through visual arts and so it did. If you knew the song, it was playing in your head through every piece.

Photos by Pedro Bugos