Monthly Archives: July 2019

My Art Photography: GAMALIEL RAMIREZ (1949-2018, Puerto Rico), Sea of Flags (2004). Street mural in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood.

FEATURE Image: Sea of Flags, Gamaliel Ramirez, 2004, Humboldt Park, Chicago.

SEA OF FLAGS, 2004, 2500 West Division Street, Chicago (Humboldt Park) by Gamaliel Ramirez (1949-2018) with the assistance of community members.

The mural entitled Sea of Flags depicts Fiesta Boricua (De Bandera a Bandera), an annual 3-day music and cultural event in the Humboldt Park neighborhood in Chicago.

Attracting tens of thousands of visitors, the fiesta is held starting in late August or early September. In 2018 the Fiesta Boricua celebrated its 25th anniversary and offered 3 stages booked back to back with scores of musical and cultural performers specializing in the pulsating rhythms of Puerto Rican salsa, reggaeton, bomba, plena, and merengue music, and more.


Some of the famous people depicted in the mural Sea of Flags include Puerto Rican nationalist Lolita Lebrón (1919-2010), Nuyorican (“New York City/Puerto Rican”) poet and playwright Pedro Pietri (1944-2004) and, depicted as a bronze statue on the image’s left side, Don Pedro Albizu Campos (1891-1965), the leading figure in the Puerto Rican independence movement.

An abundance of Puerto Rican flags in the mural is intentional by the artist and his assistants. Since Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the United States in 1898 following the Spanish-American War — and ceded the Philippines and the island of Guam at the same time — Puerto Rico and the U.S. have had a complicated political relationship that is yet to be completely mutually resolved today.


Gamaliel Ramirez was born in the Bronx in New York in 1949. He spent most of his career in Chicago teaching and as a working artist. After 35 years in Chicago he retired to Santa Rita, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Following Hurricane Maria in September 2017, Mr. Ramirez was hospitalized for many months and passed away on May 21, 2018. The artist of this colorful mural has left behind for us a legacy of paintings, other murals, photography and poetry.

Photograph and text:

My Street Photography: Europe 1970s-2000s (11 Photos).

FEATURE image: July 1984. Marienplatz, Munich, Germany. 7.91mb 91%

October 2002. Anne Fontaine, Paris (Marais), France. 204 kb 65%
October 2002. Au Petit Tonneau, 20, rue Surcouf, Paris, 75007. 65%
September 1993. Cathédrale Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte de Nevers, 13th century. Statue (c. 1930?) of St. Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879). Nevers, France. 1.15 mb
October 2002.  La Pagode, 57 bis rue de Babylone and rue Monsieur, Paris, 7th arr., France. 65%

In 1895 M. Morin, an executive at Le Bon Marché, looked to give his wife a gift. Since the 1860s, Japanese art and its influences and practices (known as “japonisme”) had a profound impact on France’s own fine and popular arts, and this craze became even more popular by the 1890s. It was only natural for M. Morin to build a real pagoda as a lavish and fashionable statement next door to the couple’s house in Paris. Pieces were shipped from Asia and reassembled in Paris under the design and direction of Alexandre Marcel (1860-1928) at 57 bis, rue de Babylone on the corner with rue Monsieur in the 7th arrondissement. Built in the middle of a residential neighborhood it boasted all things Japanese including stone figures of dragons, lions, buddhas and birds as well as distinctive Asian-style rooflines. In 1930 it became a 400-seat cinema movie theatre that became an art-house cinema in the 1970s and, after 85 years of operation, closed its doors in 2015. SOURCE: 1000 Buildings of Paris, Kathy Borrus, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, New York, 2003, p. 275 and – retrieved January 4, 2023.

July 1984. Eiffel Tower, Paris, 7th arr., France. 15%
March 2002. Château de Versailles, Versailles, France. 140kb 65%
March 2002. The Louvre (Statue of Winged Victory, c. 200 BCE), Paris. France. 660kb.
June 1984. Vienna, Austria. 15%
July 1984. Dachau Concentration Camp, Upper Bavaria, Southern Germany. 316 kb
July 1984. Neuschwanstein Castle (1869-1886), Hohenschwangau, Germany. 62% 7.85 mb