PAMM AS TEXT BY MICHELLE GONZALEZ
“Carlitos: El Marielito” by Michelle A. Gonzalez @michelleangelinagonzalez of @fiuinstagram @pamm
Last Friday at the Perez Art Museum Miami I saw my dad, Papí, making his way through the current of fish hooks and boats throughout the entirety of the exhibit.
An exodus of boat like clouds welcomed me by the entrance that pointed towards a horizon line and sea that served as the path Papí and many immigrants like him struggled to overcome on their way to Miami.
My dad was a Marielito and I finally understood his journey in Yoan Capote’s Island (see-escape), a painting in which the sea is constructed of fish hooks and nails.
I thought of the stories he used to tell me in his perfect Spanglish when we’d go fishing in Key West: “12-24 foot waves Mickey, muchos se murieron por tiburones y lo incierto que es el mar—you got to respect the ocean, she is as beautiful as she is deadly.”
He was young, 16 when he got here, and he told me it was all an adventure to him, but the times we go fishing, now older, his empathy has only grown stronger for newer immigrants. “Fue solamente cuando llegue a Cayo Hueso que yo quise más la tierra, libertad y respete más al mar…”
This painting was Papí and much of Miami. I left the PAMM nostalgic, calling him later that night wanting to know more on how he got here, thinking art like this doesn’t let us forget, but remember things like the Mariel Boatlift.
¿Te acuerdas Papí?