We Drove All Night (Manejamos todo noche)

acrylic on wood
by Theresa Rosado

back | studio

"We Drove All Night" began as a memory of the flat rice planes that I drove through in the Dominican Republic. Nestled in the far ends of the valley stretched these long flat fields of rice dotted with palm trees. Sometimes I'd see oxen driven by young men working the fields. Sometimes I'd see tractors with fat metal tires mucking about. The sky was always marvelous there. So that's where the cruising in a car in a flat land came from. Folks always ask about the domino floating in the sky. I wanted to bring a a feeling of tension into the otherwise happy painting. The domino was the first thing that came into my mind. It symbolizes a domineering force. In the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico men play dominoes at dark sitting on orange crates and smoking cigars in the plazas and court yards. The domino symbolizes US control and invasion into Puerto Rico. Robert Henkes in his book "Latin American Women Artists of the United States" thought there may be some numerical significance to the domino. But really the domino was actually just a number I wouldn't mind playing. Combinations of tens and fives count as points. There was no significance beyond the "logic" of the game, the same way US policy has ignored the desires for statehood or nationhood of the Puerto Rican people. I visited small road side stores such as this one with products just as the ones seen. There really is powdered milk in huge cans called NIDO. If you see goats milk candy wrapped in Saran wrap or wax paper I highly recommend it.

My palm trees are based on actual plants I have sketched at Michigan State Universities greenhouses, botanical catalogs of West Indian plants, and photos of plants that I have taken in the Dominican Republic. In the current trend of minimalism in painting, I find cultural and geographical specifics refreshing and necessary. What we know as culture is vanishing and is as endangered as any plant life. The challenge for me is retaining integrity and cultural honesty in the constant flux of change encountered in modern life.