"Colonial Comfort"

Photography by Nicole Canegata

Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts - St. Croix, USVI

September 19th, 2014 - November 20th, 2014

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico - San Juan, Puerto Rico

June 25th, 2015 - October 25th, 2015                                                                 



I am proud of my unique and cultural heritage and that is rooted in every fiber of my being. I am of Puerto Rican descent on both my maternal and paternal grandparents’ side, as well as 5th generation Crucian on my father’s side. These enchanted islands, its colonial story, along with my ancestors’ legacies, have shaped who I am today. With this body of work that I am exploring / showcasing, I would like to convey through my lens the symbiotic relationship between Puerto Rican Crucians and how they relate to the colonial comforts of present day society.


Series I: Colonial Detachment

Image #1: “Hovensa Oil Refinery: Our Last Hope” - paradoxically, was our economy's beacon of hope for the last 50 years, and since the refinery shut down in 2012, this autonomous modern "colonial" institution has contributed to the stifling and worst economic downturn our island of St. Croix has seen in its history.

Image #2: “Bambula Entranced” - this is a portrait depicting a Bambula ceremony at Whim Great House, which was performed by the slaves in the Virgin Islands & Puerto Rico. In this photo, the young woman is channeling the disheartened, discomfort, repression and identity void, felt by her ancestors that were enforced by colonial masters.


Series II: Cultural Ramifications

Image #3: “Estate Profit” - a cultural sense of pride always prevails within this local housing community despite life's apparent hardships.

Image #4: “Colonial Identity” - the conscious choice to leave the PR and USVI flags in color is symbolic that we are not entirely part of the US - we are U.S. Citizens, but don't have the same rights as US mainland residents, in many respects; culturally we are so different and don't necessarily identify as being Americans. Sugar cane in the background is also significant - the industry brought many of the Puerto Ricans to St. Croix, uniting both cultures, but in the end, it was representative of another major colonial influence: the Danish West Indies.

* please click on thumbnail to view image *


  • These four original “Colonial Comfort” prints are framed and available for purchase

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