Cuatro and Puerto-Rican flag

Relationship: Im/migrant
On top of the Puerto Rican flag that Lily and Pedro have in their living room, is a small guitar called a Cuatro that is native to Latin America.

These objects represent the lives that my wife Lily and I once had on the island of Puerto Rico, as well as the transition to our new lives in Louisiana. To me, the cuatro guitar is representative of the jibaro, or country, life in Puerto Rico. The jibaros would use the cuatro guitars during their controversias sessions, which can be related to modern-day freestyle raps. Each singer would have to stay with a consistent rhythm and pitch for 10 verses while they sing their freestyle song, in which they would need to explain in song why they are better than their competitor. After the 10 verses are over, their opponent would reply with their own 10 verses. This battle could go on for hours, or until one competitor admits defeat.
The wood panel print of the coquí frog sitting on the Puerto Rican hibiscus flower, both being native to Puerto Rico, represents a life-changing moment for my wife, Lily Guzman. The print was a gift for Lily from her father, after we purchased our first home in Louisiana in 1981. That year, we migrated to Harvey, Louisiana, as a part of a relocation opportunity through my job at Union Carbide Chemicals Company, which is now Dow Chemical Company.  

Place(s): Harvey, Louisiana, Puerto Rico
Year: 1981

– Lily and Pedro Guzman

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant