The Latinx community in New York has a complex, abundant history. HBO recently spotlighted that history through art with an out-of-home campaign celebrating Siempre, Luis, its new documentary following the political activism of Luis A. Miranda Jr., father of Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The network commissioned four local artists—Carlos J. Martinez, Dister Rondon, Danny Peguero and Carla Torres—to create murals depicting four time periods of the Latinx diaspora in New York from the late 1800s to now. The murals were on display Oct. 2-11 during Hispanic Heritage Month at the Plaza of the Americas in Washington Heights, an upper Manhattan neighborhood that has a massive and diverse Latinx population.
Lucinda Martinez, evp of multicultural marketing, brand and inclusion strategy at WarnerMedia, said the mural project naturally complemented the film, which explores the life of Miranda, a Puerto Rican migrant who’s helped shape New York politics over the last three decades. The film also focuses on Miranda’s involvement in relief efforts following Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico, and his management in bringing Hamilton to the island for the first time.
“Our approach to celebrate the release of Siempre, Luis was to hold a mirror to Luis Miranda’s life and use it to highlight key issues and milestones not only significant to him, but also to the Latinx community as a whole,” Martinez said. “The objective was to create a culturally impactful campaign celebrating the rich history, culture and politics of the Latinx community, particularly in New York.”
HBO partnered with Virtue, Vice’s creative agency, to execute the campaign. The brand also partnered with the North Manhattan Arts Alliance to curate the artists. The four artists selected were asked to view the film and interpret its themes in their proposed sketches.
“Virtue’s Latinx expertise across creative and strategy helped us refine the concept of the mural, so that it reflected the story of the Latinx diaspora, as well as celebrate the essence of Luis Miranda’s work and dedication to his community,” Martinez added.
To contextualize each mural, HBO also tapped historian and New York professor Johanna Fernández to record short audio pieces available on the film’s landing page. Fernández narrates the period each piece of art represents: the 1890s to the 1940s, the 1960s to the 1970s, the 1980s to the 1990s, and the 2000s to today.
Siempre, Luis, directed by John James, is available to stream on HBO and HBO Max.