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Proclaim Your Emancipation



1997
Oil, Pigment, and Pennies on Canvas
42" x 48"

This was the title piece of my BFA thesis installation. I exhibited it over a stone bowl filled with water and coins to represent a wishing well. When fellow students learned of this work in progress, they began giving me donations of pennies. The painting itself is a Boricua wishing well. Again, I've created an unstretched painting of a flag, only this time the pennies create the formations of the red stripes and instead of a star, there is a penny. In my tradition of examining American icons, the image of Nationalist leader Pedro Albizu Campos violates the space of Abraham Lincoln on the face of the penny. Playing with the words of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, the message on the painting reads, "Proclaim Your Emancipation." Within the installation, the image was exhibited behind a black veil signifying a mourning or death to colonialism. The viewer had to step through the veil in order to gain a clearer image of the painting and its message. Where the Ponce Massacre portion of this installation represented the memorial, the viewer, navigating within the installation, approached the black veil which challenged them to step through and confront the message "Proclaim Your Emancipation" as a spiritual and intellectual resurrection.

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