Artist Statement:

Jo Cosme, a Native Boricua multidisciplinary artist, harnesses the mediums of photography, video, and installations to confront social issues entwined with the enduring colonization of her Homeland, Borikén (colonially known as Puerto Rico). Following her displacement to Seattle, WA, after Hurricane María, she was struck by the lack of awareness among North Americans regarding their nation's exploitative relationship with hers. This fueled her to create works that incite contemplation on the effects of disaster capitalism and colonialism within what history textbooks designate as, “the World’s oldest Colony.”

Her first-ever solo show titled, "Welcome to Paradise: ¡Viva Puerto Rico Libre!," is an immersive multimedia installation that delves into the stark disparity between North Americans' voyeuristic perception of Puerto Rico as a Caribbean paradise and the harsh reality endured by Native Boricuas across generations. 

Showing this project in the continental US will serve as an educational experience, raising awareness of and action against US Imperialism. The work’s goal is for North American audiences to contemplate what it’s like to be a Native inhabitant of the places they vacation to and/or take land from. How are they participating in the power dynamics perpetuated by internalized settler mindsets and US Imperialism? Welcome to Paradise aims to provoke conversations on the effects of disaster capitalism and neocolonialism in places such as Borikén, Puerto Rico.

Artist Bio:

Jo Cosme, an award winning multimedia artist from Borikén (Puerto Rico), faced displacement to Seattle following Hurricane María. Struck by the widespread ignorance about her homeland, she channels her art to incite contemplation on themes of US Imperialism, disaster capitalism, and neocolonialism.

Cosme earned her BFA in photography from Puerto Rico’s School of Fine Arts in 2014. Her work has been featured notable venues such as Museo de las Américas (PR), The Whatcom Museum (Bellingham, WA), Out of Sight at Bumbershoot (Seattle, WA), Photographic Center Northwest (Seattle), Dab Art Gallery (LA), and Galerie Rivoli 59 (Paris). In 2021, she secured the Puerto Rican Artist Fellowship at MASS MoCA’s A4A Residency. Subsequently, in 2022, she received the new project grant from NWFF’s Collective Power Fund and the GAP award from Artist Trust. The year 2023 brought a cascade of accolades, including the Bernie Funk Artist Scholarship from Pratt Fine Arts Center, the City Artist grant from Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, the 2023 Fellowship from McMillen Foundation, and recognition as one of 4Culture’s 2024 Arc Fellows.

As 2024 unfolds, Cosme embarks on Inscape Arts and Cultural Center’s AiR program, leading to her inaugural solo exhibition, "Welcome to Paradise: ¡Viva Puerto Rico Libre!" at Seattle’s 4Culture Gallery. She envisions expanding this project throughout the year, culminating with a residency at Anderson Ranch in the fall.


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Freelance Work

I'm a versatile visual artist from Río Piedras, Puerto Rico - currently based in Seattle. I obtained my BFA in Photography in 2014 from the Escuela de Artes Plásticas in Puerto Rico. Over the past nine years, I've honed my craft through freelance work in various media-related capacities, such as photography, video production, and design.

Recently, I completed the Emerging Ars Leadership Design Internship program at the Seattle Art Museum, further refining my skills in visual content creation for diverse platforms such as social media, websites, and print. During the program, I gained valuable insights into collaborating effectively across departments to meet project deadlines with precision and creativity.

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