Hello everyone, last weekend I visited a friend in New Jersey, and while they were at work I decided to walk around Philadelphia for the day and to my delight, the Kimmel Center on South Broad Street had these beautiful installations by Karina Puente called “Look up, Look In” and Esrawe + Cadena’s “Los Trompos”. I was very lucky that I went into the city when I did because the spinning tops were taken down on November 18th.

Esrawe + Cadena’s interactive pieces are very colorful and playful and make you feel like a kid in a playground. Several of them were placed in the lobby of the Kimmel Center, a performing arts center in downtown Philadelphia, and when I walked in, there were not only children, but adults, too, spinning around and enjoying themselves. The bright colors and the idea of bringing fun and joy really cheered up what was a somewhat lonely time walking around the city by myself. I took a ride in one of the tops and it was surprisingly very sturdy. The Kimmel Center’s website (https://www.kimmelcenter.org/events-and-tickets/201920/free/los-trompos/) explains that “Los Trompos, designed by Esrawe + Cadena, first commissioned by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, draws its inspiration from the form of a spinning top, a popular toy with children around the world”.

Puente’s beautifully crafted papel picado (cut paper) hangs above the spinning tops (as seen in the image on the far left). Using just white paper, Puente cut out simple geometric and organic shapes and patterns. The pieces float gracefully above “Los Trompos” and I’m sad to say that though I did not get a very good picture of her work, it was still stunning to see in person. She’s stated as saying that “‘my custom, hand cut patterns root my practice in tradition and keep me connected to ancestors'”.

The combination of the two installations was very exciting to see and the Kimmel Center always has great works placed in their lobby, although “Los Trompos” might be my favorite because of their interactive nature. I wish you guys could also have fun and experience the sense of nostalgia that I did (it really reminded me of going to a carnival and riding the spinning bears) but sadly “Los Trompos” was only installed through November 17th. I hope everyone has a great week!

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