This 5 images are part of a 15 photographs series that addresses the University of Puerto Rico conflict using nudes as canvases to project images of the signs, manifestations and iconic moments during the student protests. It does not attempt to journalistically document the issue but explore the mental and sometimes physical scars this struggle have left behind.
The University of Puerto Rico, the state’s university, a place for education regardless of political affiliations and economical influences, has been a target for countless violations including those regarding civil rights. Recently Puerto Rico’s only public university suffered a series of financial cuts and other injustices, which led to student’s strike and massive protests. This series, which in total is composed by 15 images, attempts visually and artistically present how the images we are seeing, the events been recorded in history are becoming part of our memories. Internationally a country is recognized by the events that make worldwide headlines and this is certainly one of them for Puerto Rico. All these are becoming part of the present generation and will be told to the future ones. As an overall series I just want to reflect the psychological scars this could be leaving in this generation, the power and convictions these students have had to stand up to an oppressive government and how the violent times we are living is affecting basic things like our education. The word scar is also literal, not only metaphorical, because trough out this process student’s have been thrown down staircases, beaten down, hurt with tear gases and more, which have indeed leave physical scars as well. And this is not only something that is happening in Puerto Rico alone, we will be seeing more of these as long as education stops been a priority for the governments that put financial interest before an educated population.
Viviana Torres Mestey is a puertorrican actress, journalist and photographer who have been working within the arts for more than ten years. She began her career as a theater actress and grew into this field eventually becoming also a theater director, producer and dramaturge getting recognition as a young artist who started when she was 14 years old. After her success on the stages in Puerto Rico with more than twenty productions, she decided to explore the journalism field and completed a B.F.A. in Information and Journalism at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. She has worked as a researcher and journalist for various radio stations, newspaper and local online magazine. Currently she is completing an M.F.A in Photography at the Academy of Arts University in San Francisco, California, through their online program. As a student she has gotten two of her images published in the Best of College Photography Book 2009 and 2010 by the Photographer’s Forum Magazine. Aside from the performing and producing experience, she has also gain knowledge as a teacher and has been educating children in the acting subject for 5 years now. She also worked as a professor at the University of Puerto Rico, Cayey Campus. Regarding her photography work, she has concentrated in the Fine Arts aesthetic, including portraiture and nudes with a hint of commercial and documentary style once in a while. On this ground she has still to find her voice and signature style.