Fine Art Photography Daily

Candice Jackson: The States Project: Massachusetts

00_IntroImagie_(Untitled)_And They Were Radiant

©Candice Jackson, Untitled from …And They Were Radiant

Like many of the young artists that I follow, I met Candice Jackson as a part of the Undergraduate Photography Now programming that I have run for the last five years in Boston. Candice was both in our portfolio walk at Gallery Kayafas and exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography two years in a row. Upon first impression, she was one of the most ardent young people when it came to discussing her work. I have seen several bodies of work from her that explore her community in Dorchester and beyond, and image making that flows in and out of ideas about identity, community and history through portraiture and found imagery.

When I saw the beginning stages of the work I am featuring, Lolita Lebron: American Bred Terror, I have to admit that I spent the better part of the conversation asking for more information about Puerto Rican history- a history that as an American I am very much ignorant. The work is a departure for Jackson that I am very excited about, relying mostly on source images instead of portraiture, she is subverting collected documents and source imagery from the torrid relationship that the United States has with it’s unincorporated territory of Puerto Rico.

The flow of the work through the text that Jackson provided was reminiscent of Gerhard Richter’s October 18, 1977, which were paintings depicting the raid and subsequent apparent suicides on members of the German militant Baader-Meinhof group. Similar to these paintings based on press documents, Jackson’s reference material sometimes ambiguous, banal, or blatantly violent. When they are paired or subverted, the images ask to be questioned as documents. The visuals and their text pairings ask us to consider how our political system has incited terrorism, well before our current state of politics or watered down meaning for the term.

I spoke with the artist quite a bit about the complications of discussing terrorists, patriots and political violence. She does not condone it, but feels obligated to tell a deeper story about Lolita Lebron other than her footnote and link to terrorism in the annals of our territorial history.

Candice Jackson is a Boston based, Afro-Latina artist. Her interest lies in accessing culture through both Photography, and the research of historical documents. In his book “Open Veins of Latin America”, author Eduardo Galeano describes history as, “a prophet that looks back: because what was, and against what was, it announces what will be”. For this reason, that artist examines archival images as a means to make sense of past, present, and future, political and social issues.


Lolita Lebron: American Bred Terror


©Candice Jackson

She woke up, dressed herself in an ankle length skirt, and applied a deep shade of red lipstick. Picking up her purse, she ran out the door to meet three friends for lunch. At lunch, one of the men suggested canceling their plans for the day, “it feels rushed” he said. She looked at the group of men staring back at her, finished her bite, stood up and declared, “I am alone in this”.


©Candice Jackson

On March first 1954, Puerto Rican Nationalist Lolita Lebron lead an attack on Capitol Hill with Rafael Cancel Miranda, Andres Figueroa Cordero, and Irvin Flores Rodríguez. “I did not come to kill, I came to die” she stated. “My life I give for the freedom of my country”. Climbing the steps of the visitors gallery, the group listened as Congress discussed the affairs pertaining to Mexico. The men looked at Lolita, she nodded her head, pulled out a Puerto Rican Flag, and screamed for the islands freedom. She reached in her purse, pulled out her gun and shot at the ceiling. The men began to fire, injuring five members of Congress before being tackled and arrested. In that moment the world looked at Puerto Rico and its battle cry. Lolita went on to say “…we are an invaded nation, occupied and abused by the United States of America.”Labeled a terrorist, Lolita argued with her lawyer in court. “My client had a mental break” he said on record. Stopping him, Lolita proclaimed her sanity, while a simple look at history proclaimed the events that would take place, when a people felt pushed against a wall.
The events that took place before the attack:US Invasion of the island of Puerto Rico (1898)
US Depreciation of Puerto Rican currency by 40% (1899)
US Forced language change to english (1917)
US Takes ownership of 80% of the farming land in Puerto Rico (1920-1930)
US Outlawing Puerto Rican flag (1921)
US Forced sterilization of Puerto Rican women (1930-1970)
US Doctor intentionally injects Puerto Ricans with Cancer cells (1931)
US Appointed governor leading massacre on protesters (1935/1937)
US Imprisoning Puerto Ricans for speaking of independence. Radiation testing on prisoners (1948-1957)
US Bombing Puerto Rican towns (1950)


©Candice Jackson


©Candice Jackson


©Candice Jackson


©Candice Jackson


©Candice Jackson

Puerto Rican Nationalist Leads a wage strike with sugar cane workers (1934)
Puerto Rican Nationalist assassinated U.S. appointed Police Chief on the Island (1936)
Puerto Rican Nationalist leading uprisings throughout the island (1950)
Puerto Rican Nationalist attempted assassination of U.S. President Truman (1950)
Puerto Rican Nationalist assasinate two government officials on the island (1950)
Puerto Rican Nationalist attempt attack on federal judge (1950)


©Candice Jackson


©Candice Jackson


©Candice Jackson

Do you have remorse for what you did? The reporters asked Lolita.


©Candice Jackson

“I am not Sorry, I am a revolutionary”


©Candice Jackson

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