yasmin hernandez welcome



 



Who Ya Callin' Coon?


1997
Oil, collage on canvas
6' x 3'


Who Ya Callin' Coon? was exhibited as the first image of my Proclaim Your Emancipation installation. This painting is in direct response to the 1898 cartoon "Holding his End Up," printed in The Philadelphia Inquirer. In this country the common history of African-Americans and Latinos is often overlooked. It is crucial to point out that when the Spanish-American war was launched, the United States was a segregated country, acquiring territories of mixed races. American cartoonists did not reserve the derogatory images of the "pickninny" and the "coon" for African-Americans alone. In this image, depicting a circus act, Uncle Sam balances the caricatures, which are labeled respectively, "Porto Rico," "Cuba," "Philippines," "Ladrones" and "Hawaii." In another unstretched canvas painting of the Puerto Rican flag, I use its stripes to create a juxtaposition between the stereotypical image used to represent my people in 1898 and actual images of my multicolored Puerto Rican family members in the present, one-hundred years since the cartoon was printed. Within the blue triangle of the flag, I create a play on the word "Colony", using cut out images of the "Porto Rico" caricature to subtract letters forming the new words, "Colon" (as in Columbus), and then "Coon." This breakdown creates a sarcastic timeline in the history of conquest in Puerto Rico. From the so-called Discovery under Columbus, to be labeled "Coons" four centuries later by another tryant. With this piece I hope to evoke sentiments in the viewer that would challenge them to evaluate the present status of American political thought and Puerto Rican Identity at the start of the island's 5th century as a colony.

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