Christopher Soto, Puerto Rico, 1986, Resilient IV: Renewed [Plantain Plant] (2022), Mixed Media, 100 x 85 cm
Once her work is done the Goddess of Plantains proclaims “now that you are fed you can start to grow.” A land once destroyed by the forces of nature and a dysfunctional government now breathes again. Thanks to the divine intervention of the Goddesses and the will of a resilient people, the fruit of recovery is now evident in the greenery of its lush mountains, once again the leaves have returned to interpret the stories of the wind; and the song of a people who refused to be destroyed can be heard once again.
Look Closer: Plantains, like coffee, were brought to the island from Africa and integrated into the island’s cuisine by West African slaves. Before the hurricane, an estimated 77% of the island’s farms cultivated plantains and, while the island imports most of its food products, plantains were always a local staple and a symbol of self-reliance. After the hurricane ravaged the island nearly, all of the plantain farms were decimated; there is not a plant that can withstand 150 mph winds. The economic impact was also devastating as the damage resulted in an estimated $780 million loss in agricultural yields.