Standing still in the center of storms, during strife and change he created a movement. In flux with all the political changes in El Barrio he along with others created, found focus, took chances to make space and time for Puerto Rican Art.
Creator of art and culture his determination took mud, rock, and concrete made a home for transient artists. Solid, grounded in the fight for the need of claiming our artistic heritage and fighting to create more.
The Spirit of Pride emerged in art.
The Spirit of Self emerged in art.
The Spirit of Open Doors emerged in art.
From El Museo Del Barrio to El Taller Boricua and around the world, the constant teaching to honor, respect, and cultivate our artistic history with the same importance as a Monet, Picasso, or Van Gough.
He taught us to respect the work have pride in who and what we have to offer as artists, writers, poets, and community service. Never faltering in his passion, grace, honor of self and Puerto Rican Pride, Fernando always teaching reminding us that we are Puerto Rican and we have the right to be the new Monet, Picasso, or Van Gough – for our histories are just as important and permanency gives us the foundation to grow and continue to keep a legacy that has already been born.
© Maria Aponte. Published by permission in Centro Voices on 10 April 2015.