Born and raised in Brooklyn, Puerto Rico was a distant, nebulous place. Art always allowed me to remember, re-imagine, re-envision this motherland. The incessant need to reconnect was the driving force of my work and the impetus behind my 2014 rematriation. Here colonialism continues as a living, breathing beast urging that art be a decolonial strategy. Through my creative practice I sharpen, document, advance my own liberation praxis while contributing to a collective liberatory process.
Navigating notions of motherland/ otherland, I search the abyss that stretches between them, channeling suppressed and repressed ancestral wisdom. I scan these waters flowing around us and through us for new aesthetics and strategies in transcending the confines of colonialism. Conceptually, I am searching for submerged roadmaps to liberation in the underwater graves of our ancestors, on the seafloor of trenches and troughs surrounding us as sites of sustained seismic activity.
I was first drawn to these themes observing the cosmos reflected in Vieques’ bioluminescent waters. They inspired me to paint the ancestors still guiding us as bioluminescent beings and nebulas, and the resilient spirits traveling through here in these times. Coupled with my continued practice of my family’s espiritismo tradition, these portraits on black backgrounds serve as explorations of spirit and light energy. At the axis of life and death, of homebirths, and cancer losses, I learned to explore liberation beyond political struggle to a transcendent spirit practice that has expanded in these rematriation years. Hurricanes Irma and Maria and a near five months of darkness and fireflies reignited my interest in bioluminescence and gave new meaning to my black canvases. My recent projects CucubaNación and Rematriating Borikén take lessons from Puerto Rican bioluminescence to envision sustainable strategies for transcending climate change and colonialism.