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Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art

Nuestra América: la presencia latina en el arte estadounidense



Totem Negro XVI

María Martínez-Cañas, 1992

gelatin silver print
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program, 1997.68
© 1992, María Martínez-Cañas

copia a la gelatina de plata
Smithsonian American Art Museum, adquisición del Museo a través del Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program, 1997.68
© 1992, María Martínez-Cañas


Born in Cuba, raised in Puerto Rico, and now living in Miami, Martínez-Cañas assembles the pieces of her multifaceted identity into a totem by using a complex photographic process. She draws cubist patterns and abstracted natural forms on large-scale negatives, incorporates images drawn from Cuban colonial maps and pre-Columbian art, and prints them in black-and-white. These hybrid forms announce her multiple cultural connections and recall the paintings of Cuban artist Wifredo Lam.
Nacida en Cuba, criada en Puerto Rico, y actualmente viviendo en Miami, Martínez-Cañas ensambla las partes de su identidad multifacética para formar un tótem usando un proceso fotográfico complejo. Dibuja diseños cubistas y abstracciones de formas naturales en negativos de gran formato, incorpora imágenes tomadas de mapas coloniales de Cuba y del arte precolombino, y los imprime en blanco y negro. Estas formas híbridas anuncian sus múltiples vínculos culturales y recuerdan la obra del artista cubano Wifredo Lam.


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