Great Paintings: Vieques Amado by Augusto Marin
The twentieth century was a good time for Puerto Rican art, producing many of the island’s artistic luminaries. However, few twentieth century Puerto Rican artists are as well-known as Augusto Marin. Marin’s style evolved constantly throughout his career; his work was always on the edge of experimentation, combining Modernist styles with Caribbean themes and colors. Puerto Rican history and politics were major subjects in his art, and the painting I’m discussing today- Vieques Amado -is an excellent example of this aspect of his work.
The title of the piece (which translates to Beloved Vieques) references the island of Vieques, a small island off the coast of Puerto Rico that is considered to be part of the Puerto Rican territory. For many years, the United States Navy used the island as a bombing range, a source of great anger and sadness for many Puerto Ricans.
When Marin created Vieques Amado in the year 2000, the island was the source of protests and political controversy, with Puerto Ricans calling for the US government to cease bombing Vieques (this was eventually accomplished in 2003). Marin’s painting is a not-so-subtle show of support for this movement, a colorful symbol of his solidarity with the Viequenses.
Vieques Amado is an abstract work. Yet, if you study the piece closely symbols begin to emerge, including the Puerto Rican flag, birds, and swirling symbols that may reference Taino petroglyphs. Marin uses bright, vibrant colors to capture the energy and vitality of the island. This imagery contributes to Marin’s overall message: a call for peace.
Originally published at https://artisthesolution.blogspot.com on July 10, 2020.