Essays

Black Venus and the New World Artist: Trembling Musings on Ana Mendieta’s Silueta Works in Mexico (1973–1977)

In 1961, Cuban artist Ana Mendieta (1948-1985) was forcibly relocated to the United States due to the uncertainty caused by Fidel Castro’s rise to power in her home nation. This began Mendieta’s life of exile. Focusing on the photographic series Silueta Works in Mexico (1973-1977), artist and scholar Genevieve Hyacinthe posits Mendieta as a “New World Artist” whose interests in the figure of the Black Venus, and other Black Atlantic forms metaphorically buoyed her to re-shape her experience of exile from a narrative of intractable trauma to artistic agency.

Let Me Fly: Paintings of Ronald Cyrille

In this essay, Jerry Philogene discusses Guadeloupe-based, multi-disciplinary artist Ronald Cyrille’s paintings and drawings within a framework that interrogates Cyrille’s interplay between Creole folklore, language, and childhood memories.

On Daniel Lind-Ramos’ Vencedor #2, 1797

Based on research, an interview with the artist, and biographical information, this text presents a reading of Daniel Lind Ramos’s work in relationship to the historic events of the 1797 British invasion of Puerto Rico. The article highlights the importance of history, memory, syncretic practices, and Afro-Caribbean identity in Lind Ramos’s growing body of work which draws from the material economies of his home city of Loíza.

Ritualizing Memories in the Art of Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons

The masterful work of Cuban artist Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, 2021 Pérez Prize recipient, reflects on our shared modern condition while evoking memories of the past and ancestors that came before us. Images of Black people, histories, and experiences are represented through fragmentary reflections of the artist’s own autobiographical experiences that serve to rupture persistent visual and historical erasures. In this essay, Dr. Yanique Hume reflects on the ways in which the silences of the past become visible and memories become ritualized through Campos-Pons art practice. In exploring how she routinely centers Blackness, Dr. Hume argues that the work of Campos-Pons connects to the experiences of the hybridity that define the Black experience in the Americas.  

Vessels of Myth: The Shamanic Paradigm in the Works of Arnaldo Roche Rabell, Belkis Ayón, and Purvis Young

In this essay, Julián Sánchez González discusses three works by Arnaldo Roche Rabell, Belkis Ayón, and Purvis Young through the lens of shamanism as a cultural practice. By considering these artists’ spiritual interests, Sánchez González borrows from comparative religious studies and anthropology to open up new methodological avenues for art history. Examining the parallel visual strategies deployed in these works from PAMM’s collection, Sánchez González analyzes these artists’ interest in the otherworldly and supernatural as a way to supersede their immediate sociopolitical contexts and reflect on the contemporary human condition.