El Viejo (Contratista) (The Old Man: Construction Contractor)

Artist: Daniel Lind-Ramos
sculpture | Carpenter’s tools, wood, steel bars, stones, cement blocks, portable stairs, coat, builder's helmet, | 2016

Much of Lind-Ramos’s work focuses on the role of Black Puerto Ricans in the island’s colonial history. With its iconic, haloed form, blue robes, and its title, Daniel Lind-Ramos’s Maria-Maria suggests the Virgin Mary. Closer inspection reveals references to Hurricane Maria, a 2017 storm that killed more than 3,000 Puerto Ricans and destroyed much of the island. In the sculpture presented here, the head is made from a coconut found near Lind-Ramos’s home in Loíza, Puerto Rico, and the robe is composed of blue tarps used by FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) to patch damaged buildings after the hurricane; intended as a temporary measure, their endurance throughout Puerto Rico has become a symbol of federal neglect and the pervasive effects of colonialist attitudes. His sculpture 1797: Vencedor gestures to the thwarted British invasion of San Juan, which was defeated in part thanks to the Black militia of Loíza and Cangrejos. (Image courtesy the artist. Photograph by Daniel Lind-Ramos)


Whitney Biennial 2019 | 2019.05.17 - 2019.09.22 | Whitney Museum of American Art(New York City, NY, United States)