History in Stone: by Karen Mojica Franceshi Published in El Nuevo
Día newspaper on September 12, 1999.
fossil is the petrified visible print of a living entity that was
caught between sediments. Not unlike what happens when we create
a petrifying shell that can resist the pressures of the modern world,
the fossil liberates and transforms itself through art. The external
roughness that filters to the inside and mineralizes the spirit
leaves a subtle trace of what we once were, visible only to an expert
in the matter. To be able to free ourselves, without crumbling,
an artist's loving touch is needed.
Radamés Rivera is a man who, with his diamond cutters and
chisels, transforms fossils into works of art. Years ago, his mother
handed him the first of what is now a personal collection of fossils,
and she witnessed the birth of an interest that has given way to
art in the life of Radamés travels around the island in search
of stone quarries and " ámogotesá " (stone
hills) exposed by constructions, " and I look for stones"
explained the artist, and added that he's trying to rescue part
of this national patrimony ignored by many. " Puerto Rico is
one of the few places where a piece of land can be bought with the
purpose of its destruction. Many " ámogotesá"
are quartered to create commercial sand, and then the flat land
is used for urban development ", pointed out Radamés,
who studied Arqueology in the National School
of Anthropology and History in Mexico.
According to him, very few Puertorricans understand the value of
these rock formations and what is implied by the fact that Puerto
Rico emerged from the seas over 49 millions of years ago. Scientific
tests reveal that, by that time, the island was a part of a larger
land mass, that included what is known today as the Greater and
Lesser Antilles. They also show that, throughout its evolution,
Puerto Rico has been covered by water on three occasions. All these
geographic changes have enriched our soils and the history that
may be read from them. " We even have the presence of the carsic
rock, found elsewhere only in Yugoslavia ", he stated. With
what he finds, memories from dozens of millions of years ago, Radamés
creates clocks, necklaces,
and other practical objects. "And they are 100% local ",
pointed out the only artist in Puerto Rico dedicated to this tipe
At present, Rivera is producing a webpage on the Internet, with
the collaboration of the arqueologist Ricardo Alegria, and wishes
to share the cumulus of information that he posseses on the subject
with anyone interested. "I would like the project to be known
locally first, and later make the collaborations with foreign museums
", he stated, referring to the interest shown by institutions
such as the Museum of Natural History in New York and the Smithsonian
in Washington. And what is his favorite anecdote? " I
go up the mountain, get involved gathering stones, and, when it's
time to go, I realize I have about 500 pounds and I can't get them
down ", he replied in a jovial tone.
His work is exhibited at Galeria Fosil Arte, of which he is the
proprietor. The gallery is located in Cristo Street, #200, corner
to San Francisco, in Old San Juan.