Adal’s “Muerto Rico” (Inkjet print, 2017) was one of the finalists chosen for the The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition and was included in the Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. His piece won the People’s Choice Award in the competition. To see the work of all finalists, visit Smithsonian/2019 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition.
The Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today presents nearly 50 portraits that were selected through an open call that garnered more than 2,600 entries from artists working across the United States and Puerto Rico. For the first time in the triennial’s history, the museum specifically asked that submissions respond “to the current political and social context,” and this resulting presentation offers perspectives on some of today’s most pressing issues.
ADÁL’s “Muerto Rico”: The eyes are all we see of the subject’s face in this portrait of a masked individual underwater. A bubble of air—a sign of life, or death—conceals one eye, while the other stares vacantly. The black t-shirt, designed by Bold Destrou, emphasizes the somber mood with its message, “Muerto Rico” (Dead Rico).
Alternating between satirical and serious, ADÁL’s photographs and performances address issues of Puerto Rican identity and the island’s political relationship to the United States. In 2016, he started photographing subjects submerged in his bathtub for his series Puerto Ricans Underwater / Los Ahogados (The Drowned). In the artist’s own words, “The series was originally meant to represent the economic crisis underway on the island of Puerto Rico. However, after September 20, 2017, it also became representative of the destruction and almost 4,000 deaths caused by Hurricane Maria.”
See the finalists here: https://npg.smithsonian.com/exhibition/2019-outwin-boochever-portrait-competition/
Also see article in Spanish at https://www.elnuevodia.com/entretenimiento/cultura/nota/artistaplasticoimpactaconsuobramuertorico-2565294/