The “Status Quo: Deconstructing My Latinx Identity” Exhibit


Screen prints from Cuevas’ exhibit, Via The Point

Kadriana Aliyah Colon, Staff Writer

On September 13,  the Hammond Art Gallery displayed an exhibit by Nayda Cuevas exploring her Puerto Rican roots and examined how particularly Latinas are portrayed in the media. Cuevas was born and raised in Puerto Rico until she was ten, when she moved to Florida. She received her BFA in Fine Arts from Stetson university where her artistic passion was nurtured, experimenting with different forms of art, such as ceramics, while still following her first passion: painting. Her artistic talents allowed her to engage in conversations much easier than other forms. Exploring race as a social construct came naturally to Cuevas. After Hurricane Maria in 2017, there was a lot of heaviness in Cuevas’s heart. She traveled five times to Puerto Rico with her husband delivering goods and supplies to people affected by Hurricane Maria, represented in her exhibit “Resilience,” where she created nine organic sculptures with Coqui, a national Puerto Rican symbol incorporated throughout the pieces. These sculptures were meant to represent the natural resilience of Puerto Rican people and frailty of the environment at the time. Water pieces in each of the sculptures are infused sea glass, put as a reminder of how nature and humans are intertwined.


A more personal part of the exhibit are six screenprints portraying mid century struggles with Pedro Albizu Campos and her great grandfather whom she only had one picture of, which is why she didn’t feel right to paint these images. Pedro Albizu Campos was quite an intelligent man, he was  the first Puerto Rican to graduate from Harvard law, he knew six modern and 2 ancient languages.Also Campos was a chemist to the sugarcane industry in Puerto Rico but his nationalitistic  . He strived to empower sugarcane workers to fight for their rights, because of this Campos and her great grandad’s association led to their difficulties in life. They are portrayed with Campos and her great grandad at a christening, a sugarcane field, their wives comforting each other over the loss of their husbands. Campos in jail later died of radiation and Cuevas’ great granddad, who she believes after reading files that former President Clinton made available with the Freedom of Information Act,  was assassinated in a car accident by the CIA due to nationalistics ties. She even has screen prints depicting her grandfather and a neighbor walking to the sugar cane factory to bring his father lunch. As well as a Packard Clipper, a car her grandfather used to have.


A series titled “#Latina” consists of 100 small painted portraits that mimic the size of your cellphone showing varying images of Latinas.  Cuevas was tired of seeing the constant stereotype of a light skinned, hypersexuliazed Latina . All these images show a side of Latinas that are often ignored in the media such as nurses or Muslim women. Even showing a range of Latina skin color ranging from pale to very dark. All of these are based on women she found on Tumblr, and it’s done to show the diversity of color, occupation, and even religion of Latinas in the United States.


Nayda Cuevas is an artist who uses her art to celebrate and show new aspects of her culture,such as    Puerto Rico’s resilience in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, nationalist struggle in mid-century Puerto Rico and Latina portrayals in the United States. If you are interested in seeing Cuevas’s work you can go to the Hammond Art Gallery. If you are impressed and wish to own one or more of her art pieces, her ceramic sculptures of Resilience are for sale.