The Museum of the Old Colony (1992)
The title is a play on words referencing the island’s political status as well as a popular local soft drink named Old Colony. This art installation is composed of collected artifacts, both objects and images, related to the history of Delano’s homeland, all of which span more than a century, illuminating the oppression of the island’s past and simultaneously alluding to the reality of its present, this reality being that it still remains an unincorporated ‘territory’ of the U.S. where its people continue to be exploited, underrepresented, and ignored.
This is emphasized in the insufficient federal response to the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017 led only to more widespread devastation in the form of displacement, suffering, and death, making clear the second-class, disposable status of Puerto Rico to the U.S. The Museum of the Old Colony also pushes the viewer to imaging the connection between past and present, exoticizied images of devastation, abandonment and exploitation, which remain prominent and topical. It is also a way to better understand and come to terms with the troubling history of Puerto Rico, and is a work that liberates the story of a people from the limitations of history narratives, museums, and popular culture.