There is nothing more important in these turbulent days than to continue to observe and celebrate the achievements of our communities, especially when it comes to crucial moments in history, such as Juneteenth.
In addition to observing emancipation from slavery, this date celebrates the culture and underscores the struggle that still lies ahead.
And there is no better way to bring all these feelings together than through art.
Afro-Latino artist Luis-Miguel Caraballo has decided to put brushes to work on a mural inspired by the history of Juneteenth and will be installed this Friday, June 17, in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
A native of Elizabeth, New Jersey, Luis-Miguel Caraballo is a Puerto Rican artist whose work has been deeply influenced by his roots in the city.
His visual language combines contemporary with street art and transforms murals into a platform to “express the voice of those who can’t.”
“My work is meant to educate, inspire, and generate thought-provoking conversations,” Luis-Miguel told BELatina in an exclusive interview. “My mission is to redefine what it means to be an Afro-Latino in the Art world.”
On the eve of his installation to celebrate this Juneteenth, Luis-Miguel spoke to us about his journey, inspiration, and commitment to his work.
This is what he told us:
What challenges and successes have you faced throughout your career as an artist?
Some challenges I have encountered throughout my career as an artist include adjusting to life as an entrepreneur. Most don’t realize that being an artist means being in business for yourself. I quickly learned I needed to treat my practice like any other business, managing products, customer service, and finances.
What was your inspiration behind this project?
The inspiration behind this project is to bring additional awareness to Juneteenth and celebrate its significance. This is the second year we have created an asphalt mural in one of the busiest intersections in the city. Shutting down the intersection to allow the community to create a mural recognizing Juneteenth is a fantastic initiative to help push things forward.
What does Juneteenth mean to Luis-Miguel Caraballo?
Juneteenth is a date that signifies hope, freedom, and liberation. As an Afro-Latino, I am proud to be a part of a celebration helping bring awareness to such a historic and meaningful date in American history.
Are you working on any future projects?
Currently, I am working on a series of paintings centered on Puerto Rico’s culture and its status within the United States. There has always been a complicated relationship between the two, and this series is set out to explore its history and help educate other Latinos on these issues.
Anything else you’d like to share with the BELatina News audience?
I’d like to encourage the BELatina community to support Latinx arts! There are so many talented Latinx creatives out there that need a voice. Something as simple as a like, share, or repost goes a long way! And if possible, purchase a painting or two!