Jada Ruiz – Gamaliel Rodriguez’s La Travesia / La Voyage

La Travesia / La Voyage, Gamaliel Rodriguez

I visited Mass MoCA and viewed Gamaliel Rodriguez’s exhibition titled “ La Travesia / La
Voyage.” The exhibit consisted of a 60 foot long drawing of a dystopian, overgrown landscape
of Mass MoCA, where the artist had a residency. Something I enjoyed about this work is when
you’re up close and walk alongside the drawing, the scale completely consumes your peripheral
vision. It made me feel like I was in the drawing, flying over the landscape. The buildings shift in
perspective, which creates movement throughout the piece. The drawing was split into several
panels, and the breaks within the panels were subtle, but I found it a little distracting, and it took
away from the illusion a little. After viewing the work, I made my way over to the artist statement,
and this is where everything came together in the drawing. Rodriguez’s work focuses on the
collapse of global infrastructures, which I saw clearly with the way the buildings were positioned
in the piece. The artist made this connection to his home of Puerto Rico, which is where my
Dad’s family is from! I have witnessed the abandoned manufacturing facilities lured by tax
breaks and cheap labor that were established by the U.S. when I visited my family over the
summer. It was devastating that such a beautiful island is treated so poorly by the U.S. Seeing
the flakes of gold in the drawing, after reading into context, gave me a sense of the greed of
man, and how we have led ourselves as a society into our own demise because of our want for
material wealth.