Those who appreciate art and learning about culture by interacting with locals, may like visiting a hidden place in the Municipality of Loíza, Puerto Rico, which is home of art creations that honor Puerto Ricans’ African heritage and Loíza,: Samuel Lind Studio. A picturesque wooden house surrounded by a palette of flora opens its doors into the world of Samuel Lind, an artist who has spent around 45 years commemorating the culture and history of his hometown, Loíza, which is characterized by Afro-Caribbean and Taíno indigenous people’s influence. Following our visit to this small gallery-atelier, Samuel Lind showed us Loíza as seen and felt by him.
As soon as we walked into Samuel Lind Studio, a sculpture named “Meditación Ancestral” stood out. Since this work of art’s title suggests meditation about ancestors, it represents the perfect welcome into Samuel Lind’s art world. You may ask Samuel what this sculpture means to him.
As music is an essential component of culture, Samuel showed us how his art captures Loíza keeping alive bomba and plena, music genres with Afro-Caribbean roots. A painting named “Baile de bomba en las carreras” shows a vivid representation of the peculiar and lively bomba rhythms and dance to the beat of the drums. Samuel explained that when the drummer leans himself and the drum forward towards the female dancer the bomba dance turns into something else―a strong connection between them occurs while dancing and it seems as if they were in their own world in an enclosed sphere. That was Samuel’s inspiration when he created the painting named “El reto de bomba”. Such art speaks for itself. As we delved into Samuel’s studio, we looked at more paintings and serigraphs as well as digital reproductions thereof portraying bomba and plena dances and wardrobes. For instance, “Rulé Sondá”, Samuel’s first serigraph, “Bomplenazo” (title suggesting bomba and plena fusion) and “Balancé de bomba” are among these artworks. This artist’s sculptures also bring bomba characters to life.
In addition, Samuel renders tribute to Loíza’s traditional Santiago Apóstol Festivities and its emblematic vejigantes distinguished by colorful costumes and masks made of coconut shell. The serigraph named “Vejigante protector” stuck out. Not surprisingly, Samuel showed us a reproduction of a serigraph dedicated to Castor Ayala, a Loíza’s local artisan who became famous for his vejigante mask creations throughout the years and was recognized as the first “Master Artisan of the Year” by Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company.
Also, Samuel appreciates Loíza’s distinctive food―a legacy of African ancestors who adopted Taínos indigenous people’s culinary customs. The painting named “Las ventas” depicts a Loíza’s cook preparing typical food, such as empanadas filled with crabmeat, casabe and fresh cornmeal arepas, on green plantain leaves and cooked on a “burén”, a big flat metal surface over fire.
As Loíza is located on a coastal zone, many artworks created by Samuel portray its beaches’ splendor. The blue-color ocean, palm trees, and coconuts, which have played a major role in Loíza’s artisanship, gastronomy, and agriculture industry, are highlighted in various paintings such as “Rancho Vacía Talega”, “Bungalow de Nenche”, and “Vacía Talega” triptych (a work in progress). Samuel finds that palm trees bring back childhood memories of the times when his playground was in the outdoors surrounded by beach palms.
Samuel treasures very much two paintings he created in honor of his uncle: “Guillermo y su palmar” and “Viejo pescador”. His uncle, Guillermo, inspired him since he was a fisherman, carpenter, and sugarcane worker, representing typical Loíza’s hardworking laborer. You may browse this article’s photo gallery to see images of these paintings.
Samuel Lind’s love for Loíza is his long-lasting muse and was deeply felt during our visit to this art studio. Samuel’s appreciation for his hometown, its people and customs as well as his artworks influence to see Loíza’s true value.
Those interested in visiting this place may contact Samuel to schedule an appointment. Since you would be entering an artist’s world, we suggest being open-minded. T.: 787- 220-6769