En la tierra de Agüeybaná

Irizarry, 2020
Self Portrait, 2020

My paintings are collages of inherited memories, framed like a photograph, by symbols of colonial history. I grew up in Güayanilla, Puerto Rico, a land preserved in time. A place where people relive their childhoods, growing amid the colonial labors of sugarcane production. My paintings are imagined memories tied within the space of colonization’s generational trauma. The portrayal places that no longer exist due to the changes that the earthquakes have caused. I return to the same land and trace the mannerisms that stem from that fraught history, capturing colonialization’s remnants.

Corre Yegua, 2020

I combine both personal and collective memories to mirror time, then and now, through the same land. Due to the constant changes brought on by the earthquakes, my memory of the landscape remains in constant flux. When I return to these spaces, I am able to meet familial figures and those who came before me through someone's description of them. I relive memories of growing up in rural Puerto Rico and seeing the world be described to me through the eyes of someone born in 1943.

Abrazo, 2020
Buey, 2020

Growing up, I was taught to appreciate European Art. I am not sure if I recognized that it too was part of the colonizer’s project, but I sought out something more familiar. I looked up to artists like Miguel Pou and Rafael Tufiño because they painted what I recognized from my family’s memories.

Show Room, 2019
La Sillita, 2019

I am drawn to critique colonialism’s unexpected intimacy. In Puerto Rico, a pretty house signifies power and wealth, appearances speak louder than reality. My work is punctuated with domestic colonial signifiers: tiles, rococo furnishing, mundillo, and stained glass, my family’s fragile facade of success. Each painting utilizes the structure of a frame, which references familial photographic sources. I use vibrant and pastel colors in reference to the colors of the houses that surrounded me when I was growing up.

Home (on my mind), 2019

I paint in remembrance of my father, grandparents, and uncles whose lives had been structured by US colonialism. These paintings are small depictions of stories that should not be forgotten.

Marisol Ruiz (B. 1999) is a Puerto Rican painter that lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland. She is a BFA candidate for Painting and Humanistic Studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art.