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51st State

Oil on canvas
48" x 37 1/2"

Before having painted Independence Day and Sin Miedo this was my first piece dedicated to the Puerto Rican Nationalist armed protest at the US capitol on March 1st, 1954.

1952 marked the conversion of Puerto Rico from a straight-up colony to one disguised under the term "Free Associated State". Two years after the supposed status change, four Nationalists walked into the "ladies gallery" at the US Capitol and fired shots into the air shouting, "Que Viva Puerto Rico libre!". The large star on the flag represents Lolita Lebron and the rifles symbolize each of the three men that accompanied her: Rafael Cancel Miranda, Irving Flores and Andres Figueroa Cordero. The flags in the image are merging to symbolize the limbo association state, but the guns pointing towards the American flag represent the Nationalist Party's long trajectory of battling colonialism and never allowing for full absorption through statehood, hence the fallling stars of "old glory".

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