The Vejigante

The Vejigante

How do you respond to changes in your neighborhood? Do these changes affect some people more than others?

The vejigante represents the battle between good and evil. It was introduced into carnival celebrations in Puerto Rico hundreds of years ago, and it exemplifies the blending of African, Spanish, and Caribbean influences in Puerto Rican culture. The artist uses the vejigante’s double meaning to illustrate the good and evil of community change. Chicago’s Humboldt Park once had a large German population, but the neighborhood transformed in the mid-20th century into the heart of little Puerto Rico. Paseo Boricua is today marked by the large steel Puerto Rican flags that fly over Division Street. Look at this scene from another angle, standing back by the Hub for Social Change, and notice how the bubble connects with the mural scene behind it, and the wrecking ball swings to demolish the flag. As this neighborhood gentrifies today, some neighbors welcome new businesses, while other long-time residents feel pushed out. The debate over neighborhood identity and housing justice fuels tensions today in many communities across our region.

For more information, see Mural Dialogues & Tours.

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