Pedro Juan Soto, Spiks  (Dayana y Santiago)

For the Elmhurst Literary Mural Project we decided to create the image that would be based on Pedro Juan Soto’s book ‘Spiks’, yet would be understandable and relative to all the people in the city.

The book that our mural is based on is filled with numerous stories that narrate about early years of Puerto Ricans in the New York City. They describe the struggles immigrants in the US have to face. Pedro Juan Soto makes a very important underlying statement in his book: immigration does not always mean liberty and happiness – it’s complicated and one has to be very strong and motivated to fight his/her way up to the good life that everyone craves so much.

Since New York is basically the city of immigration we agreed that the image has to speak to all the ethnic groups, yet visually tell the history of the community described in the book. So we decided to unite our visualization of the main characters in the book and the portrait of the author adding the city in the background that would both indicate where stories take place and relate to people’s lives in the city today. One of the most important details that we added is the imagery of monarch butterflies that serves as the symbol of immigration, freedom, and bravery.

We realized that the majority of people in New York are just like these butterflies – they all came from somewhere in pursuit of better life and happiness, and what they do to achieve their goals is just beautiful and encouraging.

“With brave wings we fly” was the quote that we have heard so many times before and realized would be so applicable to the content of our image. Immigration is a struggle in the first place, and one has to be very brave in order to go through all the obstacles immigration brings.



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