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Angel Cemí, 2009
2009, Acrylic on black fabric. 60 x 30" Angel Rodriguez Cristobal was a socialist from Ciales Puerto Rico. Involved in the struggle for peace & justice in Vieques & he was arrested in 1979 as part of the Vieques 21. He was sent to prison in Tallahassee Florida where he turned up dead in his prison cell on Veteran's Day. It was said that he committed suicide yet an autopsy revealed injuries on his back, indicating he had been attacked. Los Macheteros avenged his death, attacking a US Navy bus.
David Cemí, 2009
Vieques, arawak for “small island,” has a long indigenous history beyond the Taíno whose high period in the Greater Antilles is dated to be from 1200-1500 AD. In Vieques however, lie the remains of el Hombre de Puerto Ferro, an indigenous man dated to have lived 4,000 years ago. With these images, I reference indigenous cosmology, particularly the belief that the ocean is the dwelling place of spirits. In the evening the world would flip upside down and the dark seas would become the heavens with sea creatures as constellations. The heavens are the home of the sacred ancestors and gods: the cemies, hence the name of the series. Those featured are viequenses who have passed, sacred ancestors in this continued struggle. I have painted them in the blue-green glows of Vieques' famed bio-luminescent bay, shining like the sacred spirits they are.