Monica Rodriguez

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Artist Statement

I am interested in researching and developing an art practice that looks into past historical events in order to understand the present and think about the future. I make work that experiments with and deconstructs historical documents in order to put into question the ways in which information is exchanged and historical narratives constructed. I approach these questions by juxtaposing and connecting archival historical materials that I re-create into drawings, objects, photographs and videos. I am interested in drawing new relationships that help us inhabit the present moment in a manner where we can revaluate our positions and standpoints in regards to the prevailing dominant narratives.

Most recently I have been working on a series of projects about the history of Puerto Rico since it became a territory of the United States in 1898. By re-examining the history of Puerto Rico since the U.S. invasion I ask myself: How has this history been represented? Puerto Rico has been a territory of the United States since 1898 and the Island remains an unincorporated state, belonging to but not part of the United States. Puerto Rican people have been American Citizens since 1917, so Colonialism and Citizenship define Puerto Rican history. I address the issue of Puerto Rico’s political status in my work by re-articulating specific historical events that make visible the fundamental realities of Puerto Rico that are hidden by its current political status.