Sandra Ramos: Revisions that become déjà vu

/ 1 June, 2018

Sandra Ramos’ work has been characterized since its beginnings for being narrative and autobiographical. In each work of her first series the pioneer (her alter ego) was present, serving to illustrate her thoughts and emotions. It is in this first stage when Ramos starts reflecting the emotional anguish of her generation as a consequence of the successive emigration waves and their political implication.

Another visible tendency from that stage was that of appropriating elements of the Cuban political caricature (…) to reflect the state of popular opinion about national policy. (…)

In her latest personal exhibition, Déjà Vu, in Miami’s Pan American Art Projects, Ramos presented works from series in which she has worked in recent years, in which in a certain way she revisits her beginnings in a formal and conceptual way.

Similar to her early works with a more political nature, her comments are geared at reflecting the opinions of her immediate environment (Ramos currently lives in the United States). A good example is her series Trumpito. Homenaje a Thomas Nast, in which she takes the character of Boss Tweed (…) of Thomas Nast (1840-1902) and transforms it into Donald Trump (…). Ramos emphasizes the physical resemblance and the not very conventional forms of both politicians, among other aspects. (…)

Another series in the exhibition directly related to politics is that off Power Ball. Making an analogy with the popular lottery game, in which the priority of luck is emphasized, Ramos has created an entire universe in which, instead of numbers, the lottery balls have the faces of well-known international politicians engraved on them.

A significant part of the exhibition retakes Ramos’ most personal aspect, the one in which she dealt with the emotional effects of emigration for the Cubans. Here they are represented by the series Apocalyptic Cartographies and Journey. While the pieces of the early series were made in engraving, these have been made based on photos. Although the photograph always formed part of Ramos’ work, it is in 2004 that she decided to directly resort to the means for the pieces. However, engraving continues being present since she uses it as part of the work in acrylic that covers the image. In both series her alter ego is now replaced with a photographic image of her niece.

Finally, Memento Mori, an installation made up of several pieces in which she somehow confronts her own mortality. When photographing the epitaphs and the decorations of the tombs of Key West, Ramos shows us the similar way in which human beings deal with death, no matter the geographical location. Some choose a patriotic form with flags, others are humorous and others with more personal objects.

(…) Although hers is an autobiographical work, with it she is able to establish a generational connection, striking up a dialogue between the private and the public.

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