Xavier Cortada, Conquistadores, 2007, (acrylic on canvas)
Conquistadores: Conquistadores, heavy with armor, land amid mangroves on a Florida shoreline. The difficulty of their journey is depicted by the stormy skies and the whitecaps of these uncharted waters. The crocodile in the foreground represents the hardships the first explorers suffered after they made land fall, including ambush and fights with the Florida’s indigenous people. During the beginning of the 16h century, none are successful in establishing a settlement. Nonetheless, they plant their flag and claim the land for Spain and in doing so begin to set their roots in Florida. They are the first of many Hispanics who through time will contribute to the state’s tapestry of cultures.