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Estefanía Vallejo Santiago

Published July 27, 2021


Research Area: Visual Cultures of the Americas
Advisors: Mora Beauchamp-Byrd, Dr. Paul Niell
Dissertation Title: “We Are Resistance: Negotiations of Identity and Place in Puerto Rican Muralism.”

Estefanía Vallejo Santiago investigates the visual production of Black and Indigenous heritage in Puerto Rico, with a methodological interest in decolonial and critical race art history. She is interested in sites where race-based narratives are shown in public spaces within contemporary politics of cultural production and national rhetoric. Estefanía aims to expand this research by continuing my work on muralism throughout contemporary Puerto Rico and thereby contributing to scholarship on Latinx and Latin American art history as well as critical race theory, decolonial theory, and spatial studies.Estefanía’s research intersects with aspects of colonialism and engages primarily with contemporary muralists of African descent such as Damaris Cruz and David Zayas. She analyzes the representation of Blackness in public art and media as methods of heritage to discuss its importance in relationship to cultural production and the subversion of Hispano-centered cultural hegemony. Her contribution to Puerto Rican studies would be to bring scholarly study to contemporary mural programs on the island as heritage processes in relation to the island’s five-hundred-year colonial history and ongoing U.S. imperialism. This discussion is necessary to aid in the re-imagining of Puerto Rican Blackness from a spatial perspective and its relation to national identity.