Iconicity and resilience in the face of climate change – Repeating Islands


As part of its 33rd cycle of Caribbean Conferences—Conferencias Caribeñas 33—the Institute of Caribbean Studies at the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras (UPR-RP) invites the academic community and the general public to the lecture “’La Ceiba de Ponce’ de Francisco Oller y Cestero: Iconicidad y resiliencia ante el cambio climático” [‘La Ceiba de Ponce’ by Francisco Oller y Cestero: Iconicity and resilience in the face of climate change] by Dr. Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert (Sarah Tod Fitz Randolph Distinguished Professor Chair, Vassar College). The commentator will be distinguished artist Mst. Antonio Martorell (Resident Artist, UPR-Cayey).

This event will take place on Tuesday, November 7, from 1:00 to 3:30pm in Room 238 of the Ramón Emeterio Betances Building (REB 238), School of Social Sciences, UPR-RP.

Description: In October 2021, the leading biologist for the municipality of Ponce, Puerto Rico, announced that the city’s iconic pre-Columbian ceiba tree had died: “There are no new branches visible, there is no new greenery, its bark is detaching… These are conditions that make it unsalvageable.” The emblematic ceiba is the subject of Francisco Oller’s best-known landscape painting, “La ceiba de Ponce” (1887-88), which shows the centenary tree in its majestic prime. In the light of the ceiba’s death, “La ceiba de Ponce” has entered a new phase in its symbolic reading as its preferred remaining memorial, and its specific site as what bell hooks has described as a “site of radical possibility,” where “one is able to redeem and reclaim the past, legacies of pain, suffering, and triumph in ways that transform present realities.” Oller’s painting remains as the version that captures the specificity of this particular specimen as a “homeplace,” a chosen space that through shared community experiences, through praxis, have been recognized as a crucial site of resistance and symbol of resilience.

This event is sponsored by the Instituto de Estudios del Caribe / Institute of Caribbean Studies, Archivo de Ciencias Sociales y del Caribe, Caribbean Studies journal, and the School of Social Sciences, UPR-RP.

The talk will be broadcast via YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqpZUsp1fhBfItDy1dp9tVA

INSTITUTO DE ESTUDIOS DEL CARIBE, FACULTAD DE CIENCIAS SOCIALES, UPR-RÍO PIEDRAS: tel. 787-764-0000, ext. 87749 email: iec.ics@upr.edu web, http://iec-ics.uprrp.edu

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