Las Nietas de Nonó

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The sisters, Lydela and Michel are Las Nietas de Nonó.

They were raised between the Manuel A. Pérez housing project in Río Piedras and the San Antón neighborhood in Carolina. Their artistic practices are framed within the socioeconomic and geographical context of the exclusion and displacement of black communities in Puerto Rico, racial and class discrimination, mass incarceration, drug trafficking, obstetric violence, and poverty.

In their creative process, they evoke the family memory to expose the systematic oppression that they have lived through for generations. Their practices also highlight circumstances and elements that are present in their neighborhood: the expansion of ancestral knowledge, the exchange of food grown in the neighborhood and the reuse of found materials.

Las Nietas de Nonó play within the intersection of theater, performance, dance, art, activism, ecology, emancipatory education, and local food. They created Patio Taller in what used to be their paternal grandparents’ home. This space is a house, but it is also a community space, a garden, and a theater, and it is used for public gatherings, performances, international artist residencies, workshops, sustainable agriculture, and cooking.

Their work has been presented in Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, the United States, and England. In 2017, Las Nietas de Nonó received a Global Arts Fund grant from Astraea. They also received the 2017 Art of Change Fellowship from Ford Foundation.

Aaron L McKinney2019