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Soul Rebels, El Museo del Barrio
2005, 8 mixed media panels on masonite, 76" x 19", Heckscher Theater Doors, Lobby, El Museo del Barrio (pre-renovation). Soul Rebels is a tribute to revolutionary musicians and poets who have risked their careers and/ or lives creating art as protest to bring about justice.
Despierta (Julia de Burgos), 2006
"Despierta" Soul Rebel: Julia de Burgos. Mixed media on masonite, 76" x 19". Titled after her poem of the same name, the featured excerpt is actually taken from her poem "23 de Septiembre": Vivo en el Gran Desfile de todos los patriotas que murieron de ira y de ira despiertan.
(23 of September alive in the great procession of all the patriots that have died of rage and that from rage awaken.
Bright Puerto Rican Red, Piri Thomas
2005 Mixed media on masonite, 76" x 19".
And I'm Gonna Scream
I'm a Rican/ Puerto Rican/ To my heart/ To my heart/ To my heart/ Punto!
Native New Yorker...(Pedro Pietri)
Native New Yorker Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, (Soul Rebel Pedro Pietri), 2005 "Despierta" Soul Rebel: Julia de Burgos. Mixed media on masonite, 76" x 19".
Oyelo que te conviene, 2005
Soul Rebel: Eddie Palmieri. Masonite 76" x 19". This work is named after my favorite song of the legendary composer/ musician. "Listen up, it suits you" a lose translation, speaks to the message, the history of the music & its essential role in our communities through civil rights and the black & brown power movements that followed. Palmieri makes music for the people from concert halls to campuses to prison yards, he goes where the people are. "La Justicia yo reclamo!"
Pagan & Palmieri at the unveiling
This photo was taken during the Soul Rebels unveiling at El Museo del Barrio in 2005. Present at that reception were these two incredible guests of honor, former Puerto Rican political prisoner Dylcia Pagan, and featured Soul Rebel himself Mr. Eddie Palmieri, pictured here with my husband and I!
Fight to Finish (Like Fela), 2005
Soul Rebel: Fela Kuti. Mixed media on masonite, 76" x 19". Named after his song of the same title, Fela, for whom a Broadway show was created a few years after I painted this, took the Soul Rebel status to another level. Also called the Black President, he ran for the position in his home country of Nigeria. He had his own club, the Shrine, in Lagos where he would perform his epic length songs, combining them with traditional Yoruba rituals honoring the ancestors and orishas.
Lionized (Bob Marley) 2005
Mixed media on masonite, 76" x 19". This work honors Robert Nesta Marley, reggae legend in rude boy stance. Collaged around his head are press clippings from attempts made on his life for the enormous influence he had with his music and message. This is actually the first time I included burlap on a piece. The following year I began painting on burlap. Included are lyrics to Redemption Song. "Emancipate Yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds."
Louder Than A Bomb, 2005
Soul Rebels: Public Enemy. Mixed media on masonite, 76" x 19". Any dialogue about Soul Rebel musicians cannot take place without black power hip hop group PE. Painted within a palette of red black & green, collaged are images of black power & civil rights leaders. The title, taken from one of their songs, speaks to the impact of their message. Lyrics read: Left or right/ black or white/ they tell lies in the books that you're reading/ it's knowledge of yourself that you're needing.
Elevation of the Nation, 2005
Soul Rebels: Ricanstruction. Mixed media on masonite, 76 x 19".
The title for this work was taken from a lyric excerpt: "We the ghetto dwellers gonna rise outta the cellars & unite/ love & liberation/ elevation of the nation of the free. Similar to PE, this work is created with a red, black & green color scheme, Puerto Rican flag included, affirming Boriken's place in the African Diaspora as well as a black nationalist & Puerto Rican nationalist sentiment, represented in a complex collage
Cuando suena el Caracol, 2006
The Caracol installation debut as part of El Museo's: The (S) Files in El Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico in 2006. This installment of Soul Rebels was an ode to the jíbaro of Borikén, as represented in the life and work of Julia de Burgos and Andres Jimenez. The installation includes various staples in the Puerto Rican diet, gwon on the island. The conch shell and title reference Guadalupe Hidalgo's song "Ven Buscame a Lares" which speaks of the 1868 revolution for independence.
detail, Cuando suena el caracol
Installation detail, sand, palms, banana leaf, machete, sugarcane, coconut, ñame, yuca, corn, higuera.
Jíbara Julia, 2006
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)
El Jíbaro (Andres Jimenez), 2006
Portrait of Musica Jíbara artist Andres Jimenez. Acrylic on burlap, 84" x 39". This portrait places the musician in a sugar cane field, machete in hand. Featuring an excerpt of lyrics to his song "Barlovento:"
Viento mar de pescardores/ Viento tierra de labradores
Sopla viento traicionero del dolor donde no hay pan/ Pan del alma para el hambre/ de justicia y de igualdad..../ Viento sol salvadoreño/ que no quieren tener dueño/ Soplen vientos del Caribe que la historia asi se escribe
Nuyorican (Tato Laviera), 2006
Acrylic on burlap, 60" x 40" This portrait of the late poet features the words of his poem Nuyorican. Written in Spanish it speaks to a history of forced migration from Puerto Rico and a rejection that occurs when Boricuas of the Diaspora return to Puerto Rico, criticized for how they speak, act, dress, being denied their puertorriqueñidad.
Libre (Draco Rosa), 2016
Acrylic on burlap, approx 30" x 39". Draco Rosa continues to be one of my favorite musicians for his versatility, his profound, poetic lyrics & his commitment to Boriken- Working his land in Utuado, opening it up to his community to share healing secrets from his own cancer battle.
His words speak to the freedom found in the land & in love.
"...Que salga el sol/ mil mañanas por oriente.../Libre que te quiero libre/ Libre de cuerpo y de alma/ viviendo la libertad/ porque te amo y tu me amas.
Voodoo Child (Jimi Hendrix), 2015
Acrylic on raw, unstretched burlap. 17" x 12"
Taking a break from painting nebulae, I created this work with a similar technique. In this case exploring plasma with colors in Jimi's electric psychedelia. Voodoo Child is named for the song of the same title and speaks to the magic in his music. He has always been one of my favorite musicians.