Loiza, a site specific installation with functional sculptures by Chicago-based artist Carlos Rolón/Dzine, in the Belt—the formerly disused alleyway that Library Street Collective has transformed into a dynamic public exhibition space. Loiza is inspired by the culture of Barrio Loiza in Puerto Rico, where roadside kioskos (kiosks) sell food and offer friends and acquaintances a site to gather, chat, and build community.
Rolón is an internationally-recognized artist whose artistic practice is informed by a post-colonial vantage point, his sense of and relationship with the Afro-Caribbean diaspora, and a distinctive autobiography. Loiza includes several components that are markers of comfort and domesticity, including handmade ceramic tile tables, a Jibaro garden made of cinderblock and artificial flowers, and hanging hand-crafted shell macramés that complement a site-specific wall installation. A palm tree, petrified and wrapped in lights, serves to further immerse visitors in an experience of a particular memory of the Caribbean.
“When visitors walk through the passageway of Loiza, the hope is when you enter the environment, you're immediately transported to another place and time. You forget for a moment about the world around you and become immersed in the present moment. More importantly, as an artist who incorporates a social practice component within my studio practice, it’s important for me to recreate ideas of memory that have personally created a sense of community and diaspora that exists independently of our smart phones, and create conversation,” Rolón states.