Las Cuatro Esquinas, 2016
(The Crossroads). Acrylic on Recycled palette wood, Approx 4' x 6'. Homenaje a Ramón Emeterio Betances, Galeria Betances, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. This work considers Betances' role as liberator and abolitionist. The palette of red, white and black and the title are a reference to the Yoruba orisha Eshu, the opener of doors who governs over the crossroads. The crossroads speaks to the continued colonialism in Puerto Rico.
Las Cuatro Esquinas, Betances
2016, (The Crossroads). Acrylic on Recycled palette wood, Approx 4' x 6'. Homenaje a Ramón Emeterio Betances, Galeria Betances, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. This work considers Betances' role as liberator and abolitionist. The palette of red, white and black and the title are a reference to the Yoruba orisha Eshu, the opener of doors who governs over the crossroads. The crossroads speaks to the continued colonialism in Puerto Rico.
Sandra Bland, 2016
Acrylic on burlap, 12" x 12".
This portrait of Sandra Bland who was killed in the days after her arrest for failure to signal before switching lanes, was created for the one year anniversary of her murder. I chose this image of Sandra the lively, happy, passionate activist, lover of justice, the professional to counter the story of her supposed suicide. I included her name in honor of the "Say Her Name" campaign. I connect burlap to Babalu Aye, orisha of humility, the poor, the oppressed.
Somos Muchos-Oscar López Rivera
2015, (We are Many). Acrylic & collaged images on canvas, 30" x 24". Portrait of Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera, commissioned by the English Department, University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez for the Luchas de Ahora, Ante y Siempre Conference. This Oscar Lopez portrait includes the faces of his many comrades also imprisoned for sedition by the US Government. In the background are images of previous political prisoners who have passed, sacrificing their lives for Puerto Rico.
Nébula Albizu Campos
2015, Acrylic on velour, 20" x 30", Mas alla de la luna series, where I envision Albizu & other Puerto Rican freedom fighters that have passed as nebulae out in the universe, their spirit transcending. The palette transcends the colors of the Puerto Rican flag, as red represents the presence of hydrogen & blue of oxygen the elements of our bodies, the water/ earth. Nebulae are metaphors for the nebulous political state of Puerto Rico & the invisibility that colonialism imposes on its subjects.
Black Gold of the Sun
2014, Acrylic on canvas, 36" x 18". Self-portrait representing my 1st pregnancy. The image is inspired by the sun and references the lower three chakras (groundedness, seat of emotions, personal power) for the lessons I embodied during that first pregnancy and home birth. The title is taken from the 1970s song by Rotary Connection.
2010, Acrylic on cotton bandana 20" x 20". This was the first bandana that I painted on directly & that inspired the Outlaw Clothesline series. I call this the holy shroud of my bandanas as it was an emotional process for me to paint my brother's portrait, bringing his image back to life after his passing. Fuck Cancer was his mantra that he would turn into graffiti signs for his room at the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at Sloan Kettering Hospital. I copied one of the signs onto this image.
Carmelo Cemi (Felix Matta)
2009, Bieké: Tierra de Valientes/ Cemí series. Acrylic on black fabric, 20" x 30". For the cemí series I painted Vieques activists who had passed, in the colors of the famed bio-luminescent bays. The ocean for our Taíno ancestors is the dwelling place of spirits. Quotes from Carmelo Felix Matta (featured) and his wife appear as watery calligraphy. "Dile a mi pueblo que marche!"
Valiente: Norma (Torres Sanes)
2009, Bieké: Tierra de Valientes series, mixed media on camouflage, 30" x 20". Portrait of Viequense Norma Torres Sanes, poet, activist artist and breast cancer survivor. The "valientes" series are portraits of Vieques activists on camouflage alongside excerpts from interviews I did with each person. Reclaiming camouflage I feature these Vieques "soldiers" for peace & justice.
2007, Acrylic on drab green, canvas US military tent. Approx 8' x 10'.
Portrait of then 9-year-old Yaurel Figueroa. I met him with his dad and uncle at an encampment in Vieques protesting the intended privatization of a local beach (pictured here). His parents are peace and environmental justice activists, concerned with the health of their children and their homeland in the wake of over 60 years of US military maneuvers. Today Yaurel has won Judo championships for his Vieques.
2007, Archivos Subversivos series. Mixed media (acrylic and collage) on canvas, 24" x 18". Archivos Subversivos features various so-called subversives of Puerto Rico's independence movement, under surveillance by programs like Hoover's COINTELPRO. This image takes documents from government files, revealing the radiation torture Pedro Albizu Campos (featured) was subjected to as a political prisoner of the United States.
Encarcelados (Puerto Rican Political Prisoners)
2007, Archivos Subversivos series, Acrylic on burlap, 80" x 40". This scroll features just 15 painted portraits of our many Puerto Rican political prisoners. Each includes the year of their arrest & the year of their release, except the top three. At the time of the painting (2007) the top three individuals were still imprisoned. Carlos Alberto Torres was released in 2010. Oscar Lopez Rivera was released in May, 2017.
Jibara Julia (de Burgos)
2006, Soul Rebels. Acrylic on burlap, 84" x 39". Portrait of the legendary Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos (2014-1953). This image depicts her as the liberator she described in her poetry. Featured in calligraphy is an excerpt from her poem Pentacromia: "Seria un obrero picando la caña/ sudando el jornal/ A brazos arriba/ los puños en alto/ quitandole al mundo mi parte de pan. (I'd be a laborer cutting cane, sweating the wage, arms up, fists high, taking from the world my piece of bread.)
Ayi lo da, (Oya)
2006,Mixed media on canvas, 36" x 24", The Woman who Changes Things/ Oya Yansa, Queen of the Nine is the Yoruba warrior orisha of change, owner of the winds, the tornado, lightning and the 9 tributaries of the Niger River. Her color is purple or 9 different colors associated with the eggun, the dead. Her machete cuts through the air as her weapon. In the background is a collage of global revolutionary women of color. This image appears on the cover of Women Warriors of the Afro-Latina Diaspora.
Self Portrait After Frida
2005, Mixed media on canvas 40" x 30". Prior to my Soldaderas mural, I had always admired Frida Kahlo's painting Las dos Fridas. In my self-portrait after Frida, I cut my heart out and divide it in two parts. In the background are lyrics from "Black Flowers", by Fishbone: "No I won't give in to hatred and I'll never stop dreaming/ and I'll love, oh I'll love till my very last breath is taken away. The colors red & black are a reference to Yoruba Orisha Eshu and the crossroads.
2004, Mixed media on canvas, 36" x 18". This portrait honors my mother in law after she passed from cancer. I created the image after a favorite 1970s family snapshot of her. Her figure appears over a collage of family photos glazed in the colors of her colombian flag. Since she was very Catholic, all of her photos & that of other relatives who have passed have halos. Like the sacred heart, an image of her & her first-born son who passed appear on her chest, marking their reunion.
Miel de Abeja (Para Ochun)
2003, Acrylic & peacock feathers on canvas, 30" x 24". Miel de abeja, honey is an offering for the Yoruba goddess of sweetness and love, Oshun. Honey is what inspired the palette for this image of Oshun in a river of sweet water, colored by the earth. Her crown is made of real peacock feathers.
2003, Mixed media on canvas,
30" x 24". This image marks the moment in which Delbert Africa, member of the Philadelphia organization MOVE, surrenders to the police during a raid of the MOVE home. He steps out unarmed, arms up in the air & is still beaten by the police. A photograph of the incident is collaged on his chest as the sacred heart, his Christ-like image is bordered by a gold background. The collage includes other images from that horrific police raid of August 8, 1978. Free MOVE 9!
Portrait of the Artist & Her Brother
"Portrait of the Artist & Her Brother in Warrior Training Camp" 2003, Acrylic on canvas, 30" x 24". I painted this image after a favorite family snap shot of my brother & I wearing boxing gloves when I was 5. I meant it as a tribute to my amazing big brother. He first saw it at an exhibit on April 27th, 2003. 7 years to the day, April 27th, 2010, we lost him to cancer. Honor your loved ones however you can, now while you can tell them & show them. Glad I did.
2000, Oil on canvas, 4' x 3'. This painting of Yemaya is responsible for the majority of cyber communications & inquiries I receive regarding my art. Many folks are drawn to this image as they are drawn to the ocean & its mysteries. Yemaya is the Yoruba goddess of motherhood & the ocean. I painted this in gratitude for a spectacular sea experience during my honeymoon in Tortola, Virgin Islands. I painted this 7 years before being marked a child of Yemaya. I am ever grateful for her blessings!
1999, Oil on canvas, 30" x 24" This was my first portrait of Yemaya, created in the underpainting/ glaze technique. I titled it Yemaya Asesu as it was created as a gift for my cousin, and that is the aspect of Yemaya that he has crowned. Here she is seen as rising from the foam of crashing waves. Yemaya as the ocean is connected to the moon. This is why the image is set at night with the full moon.