© Copyright 1998
-2015, Yasmin Hernandez. Under no circumstances should any of the
images or content of this site be downloaded, printed or reproduced
without direct permission from the artist.
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