What Is the Importance of the Work of Painter & Sculptor From Loiza, Daniel Lind-Ramos, and the Younger Generations of Scholars Retaking the African Song, Music and Dance Traditions of the Bomba After the 90’s as a Contemporary Tool of Resistance Through Creative Expression?
For the artist Daniel Lind-Ramos, a local hero in Puerto Rico whose altarlike assemblage sculptures of everyday objects have belatedly found acclaim on the mainland, the past month was to have been a celebration of his new visibility, which began with last year’s Whitney Biennial. In early March, his first New York solo exhibition opened at Marlborough Gallery in Chelsea. Then he flew to Florida to receive the $50,000 Pérez Prize from the Pérez Art Museum Miami. He returned to New York to be close to his exhibition, visit with colleagues and friends, and be available for collectors and the news media.
Since Puerto Rico became a Free Associated State in 1952, cultural nationalism has shaped the representation of Puerto Rican identity on the island. National and cultural identities have been praised, taught, commemorated and monumentalised since the 50s as elements of an idealised, homogeneous and miscegenated society, allegedly enriched by the influence of two colonial powers at different times in history: Spain and the USA. Language, historical heritage and race currently continue to play a major role in defining Puertoricanness in the mainstream cultural, educational and political institutions on the island. The result is an ongoing taboo on black Antillean heritage and the subtle exclusion of slave-related cultural legacy from the collective imagination. The guardian of Puertoricanness in the Free Associated State is the Instituto de Cultura Puertoriqueña (Institute for Puerto Rican Culture), which promotes the mainstream and official culture on the island. Created in 1955 by Ricardo Alegría, the ICP resisted culturally to American acculturation mostly via the valorisation of Spanish culture.Born in Loíza, where he still lives and has his studio, Lind Ramos integrates some typical elements of his hometown as symbolic fragments of local Antillean identity on the canvas. They are not illustrations of the local folklore, but meaningful elements that participate in the creation of a deeper metaphysical, political and visual riddle for the spectator to decipher. For the sake of clarity, I will briefly explain the socio-historical context of Loíza before analysing the way in which Lind Ramos creatively transforms the local cultural environment into a visual and symbolic riddle. Lind Ramos’s visual imagination is representative of Rivera’s manifesto. Hyperconscious of the overwhelming political issue in Puerto Rico, Lind Ramos criticises official history to invite the spectator to decolonise his perspective on race, heritage and memory and to claim back syncretism and metaphysics as a cultural legacy.
Ultimately, Lind Ramos has participated both solo and group exhibits in countries such as France, Dominican Republic, United States and Puerto Rico. His work is diverse and sometimes incorporates external elements such as light. He is interested in exploring the concept of weaving, literally and metaphorically, and creates sculptures with different materials (metal, stone, concrete, wood) that make visual reference to that concept.