"My work explores themes, symbols, and myths that form narratives which take the viewer into the power of indigenous spirituality. The works have been created with traditional and computer techniques and may seem to exist as real objects, but in reality, exist totally in a cyber-reality. This cyber-reality can be likened to the alternate reality that indigenous shamans have traveled to from time immemorial. Among my most important influences have been those ancient artists who made objects with a spiritual intent."
I was born in New York City to Puerto Rican parents who came to New York in the 1940s. I grew up in the slums and projects of New York struggling to understand the cultural, political, and economic impact of the mainland on my people, the Boricua. At that time, you were forbidden to speak Spanish in school. I remained in silence as I learned English and tried to comprehend the culture around me – so different from what I knew at home. My books, imagination, and art became my friends, teachers, and only means to escape my surroundings. As a child, I was always told that I had Indian, Spanish, and African ancestors, but my school books never mentioned my people or culture.
Ancestral spirits beckoned me at an early age to learn more. I looked for any information I could find about the native peoples of the Caribbean.. I was fascinated by native cultures and read everything I could about the original peoples of this continent. As I looked for the history and culture of the Boricua, I learned of their generosity, nobility, love of family and land, and the betrayal and attempted genocide that they were met with upon the arrival of the Spanish and then the Americans.
My search for my roots led me to native peoples of the Americas. I had believed that the natives from the North would not accept me as indigenous since I was of mixed blood. Nothing could have been further from the truth. In fact, they led me to other Taínos searching for their ancestors and to knowledge of that way of life. I got involved with Taíno groups in the mainland and on the island and participated in native ceremonies. As a result, I gained more insight in my work.
My participation in sacred native ceremonies serve to anchor my work in the spiritual, reflects a journey of rediscovery. Pre-Columbian symbols and myths, and their modern interpretation, have been the signature themes of my work. They form the narrative that pulls the viewer into the transformative power of my past as both person and artist. The viewer delves into the mystery of a culture where life is vibrant, full of emotion, and not so simple or primitive.