CARIBE FRACTAL / FRACTAL CARIBBEAN by José Arturo Ballester Panelli


José Arturo Ballester Panelli

Image is a photo collage of bright green leaves and branches overlapping in a pattern of nature and symmetry.


José Arturo Ballester Panelli

Works exploring nature as a force of destruction, dispersal, and renewal in the Caribbean's ongoing dialogue with climate change and ties to diaspora. 

Due to the restrictions necessitated by COVID-19, we are proud to present this exhibition virtually. Click here for the immersive experience!


Artist-in-residence with Electric Marronage



Electric Marronage
College of Arts and Letters


Join Electric Marronage for an Opening Reception

Tuesday December 15, 2020 5-6:30PM EST
Register here: https://TINYURL.COM/FRACTALEM


Exhibition organized by  

Stephany Bravo and Dr. Yomaira Figueroa


Explore the Virtual Exhibition now


CARIBE FRACTAL / FRACTAL CARIBBEAN is an ongoing project by artist José Arturo Ballester Panelli (Ballesta 9), an Afro-Caribbean artist based in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands.  Ballester’s work explores the connections between photography, Afro-Caribbean aesthetics, history and the racial, social and ecological system in the Caribbean and its diasporas. Through a multimedia approach integrating installation, photography, digital design, video, and sound, Ballester examines how struggles and negotiations with climate change shape Caribbean identity. Artworks in the exhibition center the symbolic and aesthetic connections to landscape that Caribbean people maintain, even as increasingly predictable cycles of destruction and renewal disrupt life and prompt diaspora. 

José Arturo Ballester Panelli is an artist-in-residence with Electric Marronage, with support from MSU's College of Arts & Letters. The exhibition was organized by Dr. Yomaira Figueroa (English) and Stephany Bravo (PhD, English) in collaboration with Tessa Paneth-Pollak and Steve Baibak of the RCAH LookOut.


Artist Bio:

José Arturo Ballester Panelli (Ballesta 9) is an Afro-Caribbean artist based in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands.  His work explores the connections between photography, Afro-Caribbean aesthetics, history and the racial, social and ecological system in the Caribbean and its diasporas.


Artist statement:

Like many other Puerto Ricans, I lost everything after Hurricane Maria hit the island last September 2017. I had to turn to my hands and to my eyes and to the most fundamental forces within me in order to face the aftermath of the hurricanes. I had to reinvent myself creatively, spiritually and materially.

I am originally a “jibaro”—“man of the mountains” in the Taino language—born and raised in the township of Adjuntas, an agricultural, coffee-growing community at the very top of the Cordillera Central, Puerto Rico’s highest mountain range.

For more than 20 years, I lived in the San Juan Metropolitan area, pained by a yearning I could not not name. I was eager to explore my potential as a visual artist and as a graphic designer, but Adjuntas could not offer me such opportunities for growth. I studied visual arts and graphic design in Puerto Rico and travelled to Morocco, London, Madrid, Seville. I participated in exhibitions, studied, explored and worked. After living briefly in Miami, I returned to Puerto Rico. 

Then came the hurricanes.

Suddenly, I found myself living in Saint Thomas and Saint John, working on the reconstruction of these two islands that perhaps suffered more from the hits of Hurricanes Irma and Maria than the island I call home. It was then that I understood another aspect of what is to be a Caribbean and a Puerto Rican artist of African Descent; our deep connection to Nature as a force of destruction, dispersal and renewal.


Virtual LookOut

While RCAH’s exhibition spaces won’t yet be opening their physical doors, we are offering several online visual art experiences. You can now explore our current exhibition in the LookOut through an immersive visual tour. RCAH students will be adding digital content about our exhibitions throughout the semester, so keep up to date by checking this page and following us on Facebook and Instagram.


Are you staying at home but wishing you could visit RCAH and the LookOut? Wander through the LookOut Gallery online with the virtual tour of our exhibition spaces! To enter the virtual gallery, click here. Tour produced by AbleEyes

To navigate the tour: 

  • Move around the galleries by clicking from circle to circle on the floor
  • Scroll to zoom in and out on specific artworks. 
  • Cursor over blue pins for more information about artworks
  • Click the icons on the bottom left to see a "dollhouse" view or jump to a different RCAH space 
  • Click the icons on the bottom right to share the tour on social media, use a VR headset, or expand to a full screen view
  • Explore!

Exhibitions included:


New Exhibits at the RCAH LookOut Gallery rotate over the course of the academic year. Check the RCAH event listings for current exhibitions and programming.

Location: The Gallery is located on the second floor of Snyder Hall on MSU's campus.

Hours: The LookOut spaces in Snyder-Phillips Hall will remain closed until further notice.