Engel Leonardo


Plátano Power Bottom




Dominican Republic


11 minutes, 57 seconds


Wood, enamel, and green banana

Credits: Private collection

Despite the apparent abstract quality of the geometric structure that dominates the installation, Engel Leonardo’s Plátano Power Bottom is almost a monument to queer people in the Dominican Republic. The title is a pun alluding to the expression “plátano power”, popular in the Dominican Republic following the country’s victory in the 2013 World Baseball Cup, and to the sexual position known as “power bottom” commonly used to refer to sex between two men. The yellow structure in the shape of the letter “M” simulates the position of the legs of a person having sex, sitting on a bunch of bananas lying on the ground and suggesting the phallus. Leonardo appropriates an expression alluding to the heteronormative male pride associated with sports and, by extension, to national identity, and renders it queer by combining it with a homoerotic word. As a phallic symbol, the banana in this work subverts hetero-patriarchal culture; as a national symbol (bananas are a fundamental element of the Dominican diet and the country is the world’s leading exporter of organic bananas), it questions the country’s conservative and traditional identity to pay homage to LGTBI+ pleasure. The work is usually exhibited in front of a series of abstract paintings created with different experimental techniques from the juice of the banana peel, which increases the sexual connotations of the piece, given that the stains seem to be veiled allusions to ejaculation.