On July 17, 2019, a massive protest of approximately 100,000 people convened in San Juan’s historic center to call for the immediate resignation of Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. A few days later, more than 500,000 people went on a national strike concentrated along one of the main highways of the San Juan metropolitan area.

Mainland and international media have covered the reasons behind this massive display of outrage and frustration against a governor that, through a Telegram chat leaked by the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo (the Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico), displayed misogynistic, homophobic, violent and classist attitudes.

But little has been said about the performative nature of the protests and the powerful images that were produced in the days leading to the resignation of the governor. One could argue that these visuals helped sustain the ever-growing indignation and the willingness for people to keep protesting and demanding radical change. The importance of these images lies in their capacity to embolden new transformative and political narratives.

The Power of the Image

Some of the images produced and shared from this uprising have been instrumental for sustaining the clamor needed for the governor to resign from office. If the performative can be related to bodily actions and artistic decisions that can communicate and instill change, then these protesters have created an entirely new field of visual language that mostly got its cues from certain marginalized sectors of Puerto Rican society.  […]