Events , San Francisco

Cuando el maguey cae en un río

Jorge González and Mónica Rodríguez, Cuando el maguey cae en un río: Madre-Agua es muy fuerte (When the maguey falls in a river: Mother-Water is too strong)

Inspired by the artistic traditions of the Jíbaro Taíno people of the island of Boriquén (Puerto Rico) artists Jorge González and Mónica Rodríguez lead an afternoon of weaving, readings, and thinking about plant-based knowledge and workers’ rights.


Since 2014, the artists have combined traditional craft with live readings exploring Indigenous practices and the history of labor movements in Puerto Rico. At the beginning of the 20th century, Puerto Rican tobacco factory workers hired readers to recite texts to them at work. This alternative form of education lead to the organization of the workers’ movement in Puerto Rico.


Cuando el maguey cae en un río takes up the social and material history of the maguey plant–an agave species used for several purposes–to explore not only the Jíbaro Taino people of Puerto Rico, but also the Native American communities of California. Participants are invited to bring their own local plant material and weaving samples, along with personal stories and knowledge around natural fibers. No prior experience is necessary and all ages are welcome.


This event culminates Jorge González’s residency at KADIST San Francisco.

Jorge González’s artistic practice calls on Boricua and Puerto Rican material culture to bridge Indigenous and modern ways of living and making. In response to the lack of everyday and academic knowledge and spaces for Boricua practices and history, in 2014 González established Escuela de Oficios, a space for collective learning and self-directed education. Its activities include mapping, documenting, and engaging in artisanal techniques, and a mobile program that includes conversations, workshops, and exhibitions. His work has been exhibited internationally, including solo presentations at Embajada, San Juan; International Studio and Curatorial Program, New York; and Roberto Paradise, San Juan. His work also has been included in exhibitions at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and in documenta 14. In 2017, González was awarded the Davidoff Arts Initiative grant to be part of Escuela Flora in Bogotá.

Monica Rodriguez (b. 1980, San Juan, Puerto Rico) examines the history of American Imperialism and its colonial impact on the political, economic and social conditions of the Caribbean. Her work often takes up archival documents in order to question the ways in which dominant historical narratives of power are constructed and represented. Rodriguez received a BFA from the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño de Puerto Rico (2005), an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, California (2011) and she was a fellow at the Whitney Independent Study Program, New York (2012 – 2013). Rodriguez has exhibited her work internationally, including Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions; 19th Contemporary Art Festival Videobrasil, Sao Paulo, Brazil; pact Zollverein, Essen, Germany; among others. Rodriguez lives and works in Los Angeles, California.