Video courtesy of Visit Philadelphia
Jose Antonio Ortíz Pagan
José Ortiz-Pagán is a Puerto Rican multi-disciplinary artist and cultural organizer residing in Philadelphia. Ortiz-Pagan creates platforms to question, activate, heal, and consider alternative options for a hopeful future. The use of visions, rituals, crafting, gatherings, games, installations and more serve as strategies to consult and activate community power while negotiating their cultural presence in the context of the transitional and migratorial.
As part of his career José has developed and orchestrated various community based projects around Philadelphia including La Sombrilla Block Party, part of the Heat Response project in South Philly which sought to understand how art could bring solutions to heat impact, A Solitary Procession in which he collaborated with artists, activists and organizations to create a ritual that allowed local folks to mourn their loved ones in dignity. This process resulted in Ortiz-Pagan creating a large-scale suit called “El Vinculo” to play the role of a spirit of death walking across the city of Philadelphia. Currently he is working with Taller Puertorriqueno in the initiative Memorializing Fairhill, which seeks to create a series of monuments celebrating the history of activism and struggle in the Fairhill neighborhood.
Most recently, Ortiz-Pagán was selected to be the recipient of the Artworks grant given by the Philadelphia Foundation & the Forman Arts Initiative which recognizes the work of community based artists.
As a curator José Ortiz-Pagan has been responsible for projects that include; Portales, the most recent survey of work of the renowned artist Samuel Lind, and which focuses on the juncture between his spiritual framework and how it impacted his local culture of his local community in Loiza, Puerto Rico.
His artwork has been featured in several exhibitions including; Atolón, a solo show at the Art Gallery of the Sagrado Corazón University in Puerto Rico, The Trienal Poligráfica in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the International Printmaking Biennial in Taiwan ROC, the Bronx Latin American Biennial, among others. In addition to his studio and curatorial practice, Ortiz-Pagán has been a lecturer at Temple University, the Barnes Foundation and Haverford College.