Austere beginnings for my next piece, but so fun to paint!
Here I have done an underpainting in mostly burnt umber, loosely based on a photo I took in the Dominican Republic of the Altar de la Patria. It honors the nation’s heroes Juan Pablo Duarte, Francisco del Rosario Sanchez (no relation — I think!) and Ramon Matias Mella, who were all buried there.
My first and only trip to the D.R. in 2010, where my father’s side of my family is from, had a huge effect on me: the fresh air made me feel as though I had only learned to truly breathe for the first time, and the flora and fauna charmed me no end. But most importantly, meeting my extended family for the first time, and seeing the family land and loved ones that we left behind, filled me with a longing that is hard to express.
Perhaps in painting this monolithic mausoleum in sepia tones, I can evoke some of the wistfulness and trauma of a truncated personal history; one which I am only starting to flesh out.