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Yasmin Hernandez
Moca, Puerto Rico, Q
Neighborhood: East New York

ARTIST STATEMENT: Born and raised in Brooklyn, Puerto Rico was a distant, nebulous place that art allowed me to re-imagine and re-envision. This process came to drive my art practice and was the impetus behind my decision to rematriate. I returned to my ancestral womb of Borikén in 2014, where I have been based since. Here colonialism continues as a living, breathing beast. Art, therefore, is a decolonial strategy that I use to sharpen, document and advance my own liberation praxis while contributing to a greater, collective liberatory process. My aesthetics are informed by the cosmic, magical ways in which my homeland rises up to transcend the confines of colonialism. Seeing the cosmos reflected in the magical waters of Vieques’ famed bioluminescent bay inspired me to paint bioluminescence and nebulas. Coupled with my continued practice of my family’s espiritismo tradition, these works on black backgrounds became further explorations into the dynamics of spirit and light energy. They envision liberation beyond political struggle to a transcendent spirit practice. This journey placed me in a poignant position to endure and transcend the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria and the near five months of darkness that followed in my home and studio. Inspired by the bioluminescence of fireflies in post-hurricane darkness, my latest project, CucubaNación, takes lessons from our environment to manifest and radiate our own light, to transcend colonialism, and to envision and embody a new nation of resilient, liberated souls.

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  • Love Bomb
    Acrylic on canvas
    18x12 inches
    This is a self-portrait as a lightning bug holding a human heart grenade. I chose to work with the image of myself as a child representing all that I experienced and had to overcome, meditating on t

  • Flor de Justicia (Flower of Justice)
    Acrylic on canvas
    8 x 4 feet
    Lyric excerpt by Rita Indiana: (Nail with nail/ Rope with salt/ All the corrupt/ will tremble/ When the punisher comes/ Flower of justice/ of the troubadour) In Puerto Rico, 2017, when she was 11 ye

  • Las Maravillosas Huerteritas, (The Wonderful Little Gardening Girls)
    Acrylic on canvas
    8 x 4 feet
    Lyric excerpt by Digable Planets (I’m interplanetary/ My insect movements vary. Peace be the greeting of the insect tribe). El Maravillos Huerto de los Niños (The Wonderful Children&rs

  • Niñxs Escolares (School Children)
    Acrylic on canvas
    24 x 30 inches
    On May 1st, 2018 in San Juan, the police tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed the crowds that gathered to protest budget cuts to the public university, mass closings of public schools and other austerity me

  • Betances Bioluminiscente
    Acrylic on canvas
    Inspired by Vieques’ bio bays, I began painting bioluminescent portraits in 2009. Betances, father of the Puerto Rican Nationality, abolitionist, fought in the French Revolution and authored the

  • Hermandad Bioluminiscente (Bioluminescent Sisterhood)
    Acrylic on canvas
    30 x 24 inches
    This portrait of legendary Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos (on the right) and her sister Consuelo chronicles their love across waters with excerpts of letters Julia would write to Consuelo and of he

  • Nebula Albizu
    Acrylic on black velour

  • Nebula Isabel Rosado

  • Soldaderas (Women Soldiers)
    Mural, Acrylic on brick
    This is a detail of my East Harlem mural dedicated to Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos. Though hailing from two different countries their lives, work and legacy have

  • Fuck Cancer (Luz series)
    Acrylic on Cotton Bandana
    My brother wore bandanas like this since he was a teenager and considered himself back then to be an "outlaw." That was the style in 1980s Park Slope Brooklyn. Since then they became more u

  • Carmelo: Cemi, Bieke series
    Acrylic on black fabric
    Carmelo Felix Matta is one of the late activists of the Vieques struggle against the US Navy. I painted him as a "cemi," the indigenous Taino term for sacred ancestor or God. Since the Tai

  • Valiente: Norma (Brave: Norma) From Bieke series
    Collage, burlap and acrylics on camouflage fabric
    The Valiente series redefines the term "valiant" and soldier. It reclaims camouflage, taking it away from the US soldiers that were viewed as a threat in Vieques and instead uses it to repre

  • Basta (Bieke series)
    2009 installation (Painting from 2007)
    Mixed media installation, Acrylic on US military tent, chain link fencing, military debris, palms, other found materials.
    The Bieke project investigates the impact that 60+ years of US military maneuvers had on the residents of Vieques, Puerto Rico. Yaurel, the boy featured in the painting and his sister were born as ch

  • Carpeta: Pedro Albizu Campos (File: Pedro Albizu Campos) from Archivos Subversivos series
    Acrylic, collage, on canvas
    The Archivos Subversivos or subversive archive series explores the practice of government surveillance on suspected subversives. In this case however it focuses specifically on individuals connected w

  • Soul Rebel: Julia de Burgos
    Acrylic on burlap
    This is my first work on burlap. The concept arrived from a tribute to the jibaro or the romanticized Puerto Rican farmer of the past. In considering materials I chose burlap for its association wit

  • Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Soul Rebels detail
    Acrylic, oils, collage, cowries, burlap on masonite
    This detail of the Soul Rebels installation in El Museo del Barrio's lobby features musicians Fela Kuti and Bob Marley. The Fela portrait, titled "Fight to Finish" after one of his so

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