Pepe Coronado Cuts Through Ocean Waves with “Intrépido: USA In The Clear”
By: Savanna Morgan
Editor: Joel Garcia
Pepe Coronado first came to the United States as a part of a wave of Dominican migrants facing economic and political oppression in the 1980’s. Now as an established Master Printer and the Director of Coronado Print Studio in East Harlem, he calls people to be aware of the issues that led to migration. His latest print, produced during his recent residency at Self Help Graphics & Art (SHG), “Intrépido: USA In The Clear”, does just that.
This limited edition serigraph is on display at Self Help Graphics & Art Annual Print Fair & Exhibition, much to the excitement of the organization. . “This print is history-based work that deals with the United States’ intervention into Dominican politics in 1965,” said Coronado. The eye-grabbing structure located top-center of this print is the U.S. battleship Intrepid (translated in Spanish as ‘Intrépido’) that is currently docked in New York and the current site of a “Sea, Air and Space” Museum. It was the same ship used to navigate the Caribbean and dispose of capsules landing in the Atlantic due to NASA’s early journeys to the moon. Unbeknownst to the Dominican people at the time, the ship was also used to patrol Caribbean islands to resist the rapid spread of communism. When rebels assassinated dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1961, the leftist-socialist party won the following elections. The party immediately established a new constitution to reconstruct the government after years of damage under Trujillo. Four years after the assassination, the party saw that changes under the constitution were not being implemented by the government. And they rebelled. Soon after the Dominican civil war ensued. With communist revolutionary, Fidel Castro becoming Prime Minister of Cuba and communism on the rise in Latin-American countries, the United States used the USS Intrepid as a quick way to intervene with no conflict. Though the US only claimed to be peace-negotiators they were proved to have been supporters of the right, bombing cities as a way to stop the uprise of the people. Now the Intrepid is being used as a maritime history museum, located on the Hudson River, perpetuating the narrative that the US democratically helped the D.R. overthrow a dictatorship. However, Coronado calls for a more authentic, truthful narrative to be considered in “Intrépido: USA In The Clear". The narrative that the US, in fact, disturbed Dominican society by weakening the left and allowing the dictatorship to take over again. Coronado not only takes us on a trip through Dominican history, but asks what we can do to keep the U.S. accountable when inflicting problems on communities that lead them to migrate from their home-country.
“Intrépido: USA In The Clear", is now on sale online and at Self Help Graphics & Art.
Savanna Morgan is a Self Help Graphics & Art Intern from University of Notre Dame.