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Daniel Lind-Ramos Gives Voice to Black Puerto Rican and Afro-Caribbean Communities Through Monumental Assemblage Works


DANIEL LIND-RAMOS (b. 1953), Installation view of “Baño de María (Bain-marie/The Cleansing),” 2018–2022, MoMA PS1, Queens, N.Y. | Photo by Steven Paneccasio

 

THE MONUMENTAL SCULPTURES of Puerto Rican artist Daniel Lind-Ramos are formed with everyday objects of personal and cultural significance. Using a visual language all his own, Lind-Ramos tells stories. He works with refuse, remnants of nature, tools, and decorative items—some he finds, others are gifted to him by friends and neighbors.

He recently produced a trio of assemblage works invoking the name Maria in their titles, drawing contrast between the blessed saint and the devastating hurricane in 2017, with features referencing wind, lightening, and the eye of the storm. Bright blue FEMA tarps are prominent among the diverse materials Lind-Ramos used to create the sculptures, along with tambourines, lacquered coconuts, dried palm tree trunks, electrical cables, buckets, rope, and countless other items.

Lind-Ramos was born in Loíza, a coastal community near San Juan with a rich African heritage. The town was established in the 16th century by Yoruba people from Nigeria who were enslaved when they were brought to the island. Today, Loíza has the largest Black population in Puerto Rico.

The multidisciplinary artist, still lives and works in Loiza, giving voice to his people through vibrant and stunning sculptural works. His ambitious practice channels the histories, customs, and contemporary experiences of Black communities in Puerto Rico and connected cultures in the Caribbean and larger Diaspora.

“To take care of objects is to take care of memory.” — Daniel Lind-Ramos

 


DANIEL LIND-RAMOS (b. 1953), “Alegoría de una obsesión (Allegory of an Obsession),” 2022–2023 2023 (wood frame, wheelbarrow, wood and metal buckets, mop, shoes, burlap and synthetic textiles, burlap sacks, latex gloves, vinyl bag, plastic bucket, metal paint bucket, metal funnel, plastic bottles, metal and rubber wheels, acrylic sheet, acrylic paint, pigment, PVC tube, wire, metal fasteners, and tape, 90 × 126 × 40 inches / 228.6 × 320 × 101.6 cm). | Courtesy the artist and The Ranch, Montauk, Photo by Steven Paneccasio

 

Named a MacArthur Fellow in 2021, Lind-Ramos also received a United States Artists Fellowship (2021), and participated in the Whitney Biennial (2019). His largest museum exhibition to date is currently on view at MoMA PS1 in Queens, N.Y. “Daniel Lind-Ramos: El Viejo Griot — Una historia de todos nosotros” presents 10 large-scale sculptures and two video works.

In addition to storms and climate change, his subjects include the COVID-19 pandemic and waning local fishing, agriculture, and costume traditions. “Centinelas de la luna nueva” (2022–23) and “El Viejo Griot” (2022–23), two new sculptures made specifically for the exhibition, consider how colonialism, cultural erasure, and environmental decline have shaped Puerto Rican identity.

The title of the exhibition translates to “The Elder Storyteller—A Story of All of Us.” It’s a role the artist embraces with thoughtful and insightful narrative works, employing an array of meaningful materials and objects.

“To take care of objects is to take care of memory. It’s interesting because memory, most of the time, has to do something with people, not with objects themselves,” Lind-Ramos said in the video below. “For me, objects are loaded with experiences, whether personal or collective. And I’m interested in exploring that weight, in visual terms, the weight of the object.”CT

 

“Daniel Lind-Ramos: El Viejo Griot — Una historia de todos nosotros” is on view at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens, N.Y., from April 20-Sept. 4, 2023

 

FIND MORE about artist Daniel Lind-Ramos on his website

 


On the occasion of his MoMA PS1 exhibition, multidisciplinary artist Daniel Lind-Ramos speaks about his work from Loíza, Puerto Rico. | MoMA PS1 Video – Directed/Produced by Nora Rodriguez. Video by Pati Cruz and Marissa Alper. Editing by Marissa Alper

 


DANIEL LIND-RAMOS (b. 1953), “María Guabancex,” 2018-2022 (siding from the artist’s home, various metal construction elements, dried palm tree branch, dried palm tree trunks, dried tree trunks, various textiles, painted coconut, FEMA tarp, plastic bubble wrap, painted wood, plastic hoses, painted hose spigot, maracas, plastic tubing, electrical cables, trumpet, metal cables, ropes, drum, metal buckets, painted vinyl, found shoes, and bedazzled boxing bags, 110 × 84 × 148 inches / 279.4 × 213.4 × 375.9 cm). | Smithsonian American Art Museum. Museum purchase in part through the Smithsonian Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center, and the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment, Photo by Steven Paneccasio

 


DANIEL LIND-RAMOS (b. 1953), “El Viejo Griot (The Elder Storyteller),” 2022-2023 (boat bow, burlap sacks, plastic lid, hat, wood, bugle, wood oars, cardboard, painted fiberglass, plastic and synthetic textiles, dried and lacquered coconuts, PVC bucket, tambourine, conga drum, gloves, wire, metal fasteners, mirror, sewing pins, marine rope, plastic wrapping material, and rope, 106 × 207 × 111 inches / 269.2 × 525.8 × 281.9 cm). | Courtesy the artist and The Ranch, Montauk, Photo by Steven Paneccasio

 


DANIEL LIND-RAMOS (b. 1953), Detail of “El Viejo Griot (The Elder Storyteller),” 2022-2023 (boat bow, burlap sacks, plastic lid, hat, wood, bugle, wood oars, cardboard, painted fiberglass, plastic and synthetic textiles, dried and lacquered coconuts, PVC bucket, tambourine, conga drum, gloves, wire, metal fasteners, mirror, sewing pins, marine rope, plastic wrapping material, and rope, 106 × 207 × 111 inches / 269.2 × 525.8 × 281.9 cm). | Courtesy the artist and The Ranch, Montauk, Photo by Steven Paneccasio

 


DANIEL LIND-RAMOS (b. 1953), “Ambulancia” (2020),” 2022-2023 (wood armature, car bumpers, loudspeaker, emergency siren light, mattress bed spring, wheelbarrow, shovel, car brake lights, metal chairs, wood bed legs, car radiator, acrylic sheeting, lacquered tree bark, clothing, metal mesh, plastic textiles, burlap cloth, bedsheet, metal fasteners, flexible PVC tubing, metal clips, plastic tubing, shoes, rope, and wire, 100 × 132 × 48 inches / 254 × 335.3 × 121.9 cm). | Courtesy the artist and The Ranch, Montauk, Photo by Steven Paneccasio

 


DANIEL LIND-RAMOS (b. 1953), Alternative view of “Ambulancia” (2020),” 2022-2023 (wood armature, car bumpers, loudspeaker, emergency siren light, mattress bed spring, wheelbarrow, shovel, car brake lights, metal chairs, wood bed legs, car radiator, acrylic sheeting, lacquered tree bark, clothing, metal mesh, plastic textiles, burlap cloth, bedsheet, metal fasteners, flexible PVC tubing, metal clips, plastic tubing, shoes, rope, and wire, 100 × 132 × 48 inches / 254 × 335.3 × 121.9 cm). | Courtesy the artist and The Ranch, Montauk, Photo by Steven Paneccasio

 


DANIEL LIND-RAMOS (b. 1953), Detail of “Ambulancia” (2020),” 2022-2023 (wood armature, car bumpers, loudspeaker, emergency siren light, mattress bed spring, wheelbarrow, shovel, car brake lights, metal chairs, wood bed legs, car radiator, acrylic sheeting, lacquered tree bark, clothing, metal mesh, plastic textiles, burlap cloth, bedsheet, metal fasteners, flexible PVC tubing, metal clips, plastic tubing, shoes, rope, and wire, 100 × 132 × 48 inches / 254 × 335.3 × 121.9 cm). | Courtesy the artist and The Ranch, Montauk, Photo by Steven Paneccasio

 


DANIEL LIND-RAMOS (b. 1953), “María de los Sustentos (Mary of Nourishment),” 2021 (nails, steel, casseroles, wood panels, concrete blocks, burlap, fishing net, water bottles, hatchet, hammer, blue tarp, and rope, 121 × 91 × 42 inches / 307.3 × 231.1 × 106.7 cm). | Collection David Cancel, Photo by Steven Paneccasio

 


Installation view of “Daniel Lind-Ramos: El Viejo Griot — Una historia de todos nosotros,” MoMA PS1, Queens, N.Y. (April 20-Sept. 4, 2023). Shown at center, “Figura emisaria (The Emissary),” 2020. | Courtesy MoMA PS1, Photo by Steven Paneccasio

 


DANIEL LIND-RAMOS (b. 1953), Detail of “Figura emisaria (The Emissary),” 2020 (steel, palm tree branches, dried coconuts, branches, palm tree trunks, wood panels, burlap, concrete blocks, glass, aluminum, fabric, and lights, 108 × 60 × 47 inches / 274.3 × 152.4 × 119.4 cm). | Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Museum purchase with funds provided by the Luria/Budgor Family Foundation, Photo by Steven Paneccasio

 


DANIEL LIND-RAMOS (b. 1953), “Centinelas de la luna nueva (Sentinels of the New Moon),” 2022-2023 (wood, metal pulley, metal, metal chairs, plastic, found textile, acrylic sheet, rope, metal mesh, shovel, tape, metal fasteners, wire, drum, shovel, found pots, tarp, dried coconut inflorescence, machete, tripod, electric fan parts, wood crab trap, cardboard mask, welding mask, dried and lacquered coconuts, boxing bag, metal drum, metal box, clamps, concrete, metal construction hardware, metal hoe, 5 gallon PVC bucket, wood base, mirror, glass, and pitchfork, 108 × 100 × 100 inches / 274.3 × 254 × 254 cm). | Courtesy the artist and The Ranch, Montauk, Photo by Steven Paneccasio

 

IMAGE: Top of page, DANIEL LIND-RAMOS (b. 1953), “Baño de María (Bain-marie/The Cleansing),” 2018-2022 (wood, palm tree branches and trunks, lacquered coconuts, FEMA tarp, various textiles, tambourines, metal buckets, wooden chair, trumpets, hammers, metal cables, metal fan, plastic tubing, plastic hoses, metal wire, nails, pins, rope, 127 × 120 × 48 inches / 322.6 × 304.8 × 121.9 cm). | Courtesy the artist and The Ranch, Montauk, Photo by Steven Paneccasio

 

BOOKSHELF
The work of Daniel Lind-Ramos was presented at the Whitney Biennial in 2019, which was documented in an accompanying catalog. The artist was also featured in the international traveling exhibition “Afro Atlantic Histories” and its related catalog. A sweeping survey of more than 400 works by 200 artists from the 16th to the 21st centuries “that express and analyze the ebbs and flows between Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe,” the volume “is motivated by the desire and need to draw parallels, frictions and dialogues around the visual cultures of Afro-Atlantic territories―their experiences, creations, worshiping and philosophy.”

 

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