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1974 Myrna Báez Born: Santurce, Puerto Rico 1931 acrylic on canvas 45 x 35 in. (114.3 x 88.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Jaime Fonalledas 2013.21 Not currently on view

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Báez focused her gaze on a lush field of plantain trees, a crop long wedded to concepts of Puerto Rican identity and sovereignty. She depicted the crop’s large leaves as they reflect the tropical sun and delighted in her manipulation of paint on unprimed canvas. Báez’s belief in Puerto Rican independence manifests in her impulse to look, depict, and therefore possess the island’s landscape on her own terms.

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art, 2013