Polo_Full Fathom Five Still.jpg

Darice Polo

Open Letter to a Libelist
single channel video
duration - 05:27

(b. 1959 – New York, NY) Darice Polo’s paintings, drawings, prints, and video work focus on community and family as experienced by the Puerto Rican diaspora in New York City. Working from 8mm stills, her drawings and paintings retain the fuzzy filters of the films, while her video work incorporates these historical records within the context of contemporary film and images.

This assembled-segment video, Open Letter to a Libelist, serves as a trailer for a full-length film to be released in the future. In it, we see the interlacing of home recordings and footage the artist captured in many research trips to Puerto Rico. She has recently been looking deeply into the activist heritage of her family, an activism thread she proudly continues in her work. As her grandfather Ruperto Udenburgh did before her through his writing in publications like Evangelina, Polo describes the Puerto Rican experience in the US and illuminates the tactics the US has employed for generations to weaken the voice and independence of the Puerto Rican people. Considering the recent inequities revealed to the world in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricanes that devastated Puerto Rico, Polo’s work is more than timely. It is necessary. 

Polo received an MFA from the State University of New York at Albany and a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. She has exhibited work locally and throughout the US, including at SPACES Gallery, the University of Dayton, West Virginia University, and the William Busta Gallery, Cleveland, OH. She was a 2016 recipient of the Creative Workforce Fellowship awarded by the Community Partnership for Arts & Culture. Polo is Associate Professor of Drawing and Painting at Kent State University’s School of Art.

From the nominating artist: 

At this time, when so many of us Americans use our individual identity as a tool to put up barriers against those who are different from ourselves, Darice Polo makes work through her personal and family experience as a Puerto Rican American not only to be self-reflexive or self-aggrandizing, but as a window on larger cultural events and attitudes. Through Darice’s project, ‘Seeds of Colonialism,’ I was made aware of many of the ways that the issues brought to the island through colonization persist to the present day. The subject is always significant in North America, but now especially so because of the ongoing aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Further, Darice is meticulous and detailed in her fabrication in various media - drawing, painting, printmaking and filmmaking- to communicating convincingly about issues facing immigrant communities.
— Barry Underwood

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