Enoc Perez reflects on issues of dislocation and climate change through Ocean Park, a series inspired by the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Enoc Perez, Ocean Park (Apocalypse Now), 2020. Courtesy the artist | Right: A man waits near a damaged bridge in Morovis after hurricane Maria. Photo: Andres Kudacki for TIME
Enoc Perez's latest work has a sense of urgency. Ocean Park shows the degradation caused by Hurricane Maria in the artist's native Puerto Rico. Perez explained more about the series in conversation with Shifting Vision.
Perez said: ‘All my youth I went to this beach. It reminded me about how I felt almost uprooted after Hurricane Maria, how it felt in terms of how the island got treated.’ The artist emphasized the link between natural disasters and migration, noting that: ‘A lot of these natural disasters trigger migration as a consequence.’
Enoc Perez, Ocean Park, 2020. Courtesy the artist
Perez explained that, 'When you go to a place and a beach has literally disappeared because some ice in the Arctic is melting, it becomes very real and concrete. One of the beauties of being an artist is to have a voice.' Indeed, Perez said he feels he has a platform to talk about the urgency of the climate crisis.
‘I have this show going to an institution and I thought, that's a great chance to bring awareness to these natural disasters and bring awareness to what they may cost or what they are already costing, as in the case of migration.’
San Isidro torn apart by Hurricane Maria, on September 28, 2017. Photo: Andres Kudacki for TIME
During our conversation, Perez took Shifting Vision around his studio, showing his unique technique of applying the colour onto the canvas using paper. ‘For years I never demonstrated how I did it, simply because I thought it would be easy to understand, because it's kind of a primitive way of printmaking,' Perez said. 'But I realize when I demonstrate, it's just easier, it's better, and I like to demonstrate because I believe that it makes the work special and different. Intellectually it grounds it.’
Overall says Perez, we are living in ‘shocking in bipolar times. You just go from feeling one way to the other.' Yet his discussion of these themes in his recent work with Shifting Vision also included hope: ‘But we'll see, hopefully we will prevail and things will be good again.’
Paradise at the Guild Hall, April 24- May 31, 2021
Enoc Perez x Guild Hall Interview, 2020
New York Times, The Great Climate Migration by Abrahm Lustgarten, July 2020