UPROOTED | REAWAWAKENING OUR GIANTS
is a collaborative project by Marie Astrid González and Dr. Juan Gerardo González
A very special thanks to “the village” that stands behind this project: Mr. Mojica, Jorge Rivera, and Tom Mishima for lending an ear and their woodworking skills to get this idea—literally—off the ground, and Cuffle Farms for their beautiful air plants.
Dr. Juan Gerardo González was born on a farm in Río Hondo, Mayagüez, surrounded by sugarcane fields and coffee plantations. Life on the farm etched a profound love and reverence for the environment. His bachelor’s degree in Zoology at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez Campus fed his passion for studying natural habitats, and later he turned his attention to the oceans, pursuing studies in Oceanography at the University of Texas A & M (master’s degree), and the University of Rhode Island (doctorate).
From his humble origins until today, Dr. González has amassed many awards for his contributions to science and his dedication to the field of education. Although his professional career has spanned more than 50 years, he continues to work tirelessly to help hundreds of students and teachers in their academic and professional development. It is also admirable, that despite his 86 journeys around the sun, he continues to care for every plant and tree on his small farm in Río Hondo where he took his first steps and his love for the forest, rivers, the sea and the stars flourished.
Marie Astrid González is a multidisciplinary artist from Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. She grew up spending weekends at her grandparent’s farm where she fell in love with the bounties of nature. As a teen she became interested in art, and followed her calling receiving a BFA in Photography at the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA in Design at the University of Illinois.
Marie finds inspiration in the space where ideas merge with personal experience. This motivation has been key defining many projects in her career; from her contribution to the Wall Project for the Wende Museum in Los Angeles to her commercial work as Art Director for advertising agencies.
This is how UPROOTED (Reawakening our Giants) was born. In 2017 Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico shortly after she began working on a botanical-memoir project based on her father’s upbringing in Rio Hondo. Unfortunately, the storm destroyed several of the trees discussed in the project so they decided that instead of mourning their loss, they would celebrate their beauty by giving the fallen giants a new life.