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1 / Converging Cultures

Pelea de Gallos (Fight of the Roosters)
Pelea de Gallos (Fight of the Roosters)
Artist / Origin Miguel Luciano (Puerto Rican, b. 1972)
Region: North America
Date 2002
Material Acrylic on canvas
Medium: Painting
Dimensions H: 60 in. (152.4 cm.), W: 48 in. (121.9 cm.)
Credit Courtesy of the artist

expert perspective

Deborah CullenDirector of Curatorial Programs, El Museo del Barrio

Pelea de Gallos (Fight of the Roosters)

» Miguel Luciano (Puerto Rican, b. 1972)

expert perspective

Deborah Cullen Deborah Cullen Director of Curatorial Programs, El Museo del Barrio

What Miguel does in this painting is he pits the symbol of the major chicken brand in Puerto Rico, which is Pollo Picú, against the rooster from the Corn Flakes cereal brand. They are having this sort of death match, and then down in the corner of the painting the Colonel Sanders is painted like a traditional Santo figure, which is a devotional catholic Christian sculpture, a very important cultural production from Puerto Rico. So the painting speaks to us about sort of the struggle, the fraught relationship between the island and the United States.

Puerto Ricans were granted U.S. citizenship in 1917, although they do not vote on the island for the president of the United States, and they are exempt from many federal taxes (although in any draft they have been called upon heavily to serve in our military abroad). So there is a very sort of interesting and sometimes conflict-ridden relationship between the island and the United States. And I think this painting sort of unpacks a lot of those issues.” 

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