Aguas De Libertad
Charcoal & graphite on wood, pastels on cardboard
“Aguas De Libertad” was created for an exhibit at the Brennan Gallery (NJ) called “ves·sel”. A fusion of both literal and metaphorical interpretations of ‘container’, ‘ship’, ‘body’ and ‘blood’, ves·sel seeks to emphasize American-ness of Black History. The exhibition acknowledges the history that is often obscured by the journey forward.
“Aguas De Libertad” was inspired by Abolitionist movement in Puerto Rico led by Ramon Betances to free children who were slaves, taking advantage of their need to receive the sacrament of Baptism at the town church. Buying the freedom of slave children cost more if the child had been baptized, than a child that was not. Before the child was baptized, Betances or his partners gave money to the parents, which they in turn used to buy the child’s freedom from his master. However, the child, once freed, was baptized minutes after. This action was later described as having the child receive the “aguas de libertad” (waters of liberty)