Daniel Lind-Ramos was born in Loíza, Puerto Rico, in 1953, where he currently lives and works. He received his BA from the University of Puerto Rico in 1975 and his MA from New York University in 1979. Lind-Ramos makes his sculptural assemblages using everyday materials collected from scavenging the streets and beaches of his hometown or sourcing from his local community. The objects and materials that the artist incorporates in his work recall the layered histories of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, and the realities of life there today.
Lind-Ramos reflects on the cultural richness and systemic inequalities that shape Loíza’s complex history through the objects he integrates into his sculptures. In Maria, Maria (2019), the artist uses blue plastic tarps distributed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after Hurricane Maria struck the island in 2017. Alongside these tarps, he uses materials from the coconut palm to sculpt a figure whose composition resembles depictions of the Virgin Mary. The juxtaposition of these hyper-local motifs and materials creates space to question what they mean today, and how we can carry their lessons and inventions forward. Building on his investigation of Hurricane Maria, Lind-Ramos created three new sculptures that use objects, sounds, and symbols to evoke a multi-sensory experience. In addition to repurposing FEMA tarps in each of these works, he makes visual references to the vortex of the hurricane in the spiraling form of María Guabancex (2018-2022), or the crashing of the thunder represented in the drums of Baño de María (2018-2022) and the pots and pans in María de los Sustentos (2020-2021)
Organizing community events, Lind-Ramos invites his friends, students, and neighbors to participate in his practice, playing music and dancing or performing in homemade costumes. These events are opportunities to come together in celebration of the shared culture of Loíza, as well as to discuss frustrations around the political and social realities in Puerto Rico. In particular, these celebrations and Lind-Ramos are inspired by the Afro-Caribbean or Afrodescendiente community in Loíza, of which he is a member. Loíza has the largest population of Afro-Caribbean residents in Puerto Rico, bringing a strong African influence to the history and culture of the town. Referenced throughout Lind-Ramos’ sculptures are connections to African traditions like Yoruban religious practices and Bomba music and dance, as in Con-junto (The Ensemble) (2015). Through his work, Lind-Ramos lays the ground for viewers to think about the resistance and invention present in Puerto Rican culture and confronts the conditions which require it, connecting his experience with universal experiences of hardship and innovation.
“My intention was to find a language, find a process, find materials that established the link between our collective experience and somehow bring something different but authentic.”