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Three years of careful research into the history of colonialism led Jorge Luis to design this massive installation, which resembles a Spanish galleon. It was originally commissioned for the Mayfair Festival of the Arts to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. A statue of the Italian explorer can be seen at the apex of the nine-foot high structure, pointing ominously toward land. Below him, in the hold of the vessel, there are ceramic statuettes placed in rows to mimic the harsh conditions faced by the slaves aboard. They were each crafted individually by the artist, in contrast to the dehumanizing reality of slavery. The globe at the front of the ship alludes to the post-Columbian, “New World,” while the indigenous, Pre-Columbian inhabitants are represented by feathers placed all around the vessel. There are photographic etchings on the surface of each copper-plated continent, which are images taken from another sculpture, Mysteries of My Past, Present, and Future . While on display, the sounds of the ocean could also be heard playing in the background of the gallery space. Most impressi- ve, however, is the mechanical engineering of the ship’s wheel, which allows for rotation of the globe. It is this layering of different techniques and materials that evokes the consequences of Columbus’s fateful landing, and the resulting heterogeneity of the continent. Moreover, Jorge Luis is able to synthesize ele- ments of this shared, complicated history into a single structure, of which, he is both the architect and the passenger. After the Mayfair Festival, the installation was included in the exhibition “ Reclaiming Histo- ry,” which celebrated the 25th anniversary of El Museo del Barrio. It was then hosted at Kingsborough Community College later that year. Finally, in 1996, the installation made its way to Hartford, Connecti- cut. The exhibition, “Legacy/Legado,” was hosted at the Old New State House, which is also where the Amistad trials took place two centuries earlier.

Monumento a 500 Años del reverso cultural de America, 1990-1993

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