Pearls in the Nacre

PHOTOGRAPHS AND WORDS BY CAMILA FALQUEZ

On the island of Puerto Rico, between the crashing waves of the Atlantic and the colorful walls of Old San Juan, sits La Perla, a seaside town with a history of community, dance, and resistance.

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La Perla exists as an act of resistance hanging from the wall of Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico. As you descend from the polished colonial city of Viejo San Juan, you feel as though you are entering a place run by its own royalty. You are guided by the constant roaring of the Atlantic ocean and the roosters announcing that La Perla knows you are there.

 

As you walk the streets of La Perla, you are aware of being in the presence of queens. They guard their streets from their balconies and their windows, and they sit in plastic chairs transformed into thrones from which they control every transaction that takes place in La Perla.

 

In La Perla, you feel you are in a place that no one wants to really look at, but those who do, can see the fruits of centuries of resistance. The drums of La Bomba are the sound of revolution, plotting, and resisting. When they play, you can hear them in every crack of every street, guiding you to the circle where the magic happens. Women guide the drum with their bodies, their feet, and the swinging of their skirts.

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Pearls in the Nacre

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