IMAGES OF IDENTITY: Taller Puertorriqueño 1974 – 2014

Images of Identity : Taller Puertorriqueño 1974 - 2014

November 7, 2014 – January 31, 2015

Taller's first staff
Taller’s first staff in 1974.In the upper left with beard and glasses is Rick Hall, a founder of Taller who helped shape the original mission with Domingo Negrón. Domingo Negron is pictured sitting in the front in the lower right corner.

Celebrating 40 years of engaging and building community through the arts, this exhibition is a survey of Taller’s response to the needs and aspirations of the community it represents.  Multi-media installations, videos, photographs, art and interviews retell the story of the struggle,  resilience and creativity of the people behind Taller who made and make the organization.

The exhibition begins before Taller’s creation in 1974, when heightened postwar migration and immigration of Latinos to Philadelphia resulted in ethnic tensions. After World War II, Philadelphia’s Puerto Rican population grew to the third largest in the country.  This exhibition examines how Taller’s founders used art and cultural  production as instruments for ethnic pride and a means of self-sufficiency. Printmaking was not only an art form to be maintained but also a trade that could be capitalized on.  The bookstore (as it was known then) not only promoted and sold culturally specific items but was also an introduction to running a business.  Taller became a center for artists and intellectuals to gather, and also a place for community investigation and documentation, as “Batiendo la Olla”, the oral history project, demonstrated.

Taller Timeline
Taller Timeline

As Taller’s members changed and its role in the area expanded, the programs began to include more and more youth activities.  It was through meeting their needs that Taller best fulfilled its mission to promote Puerto Rican and Latino culture and understanding.  Art was a doorway leading to self-expression and personal growth.

With this perspective, an artist’s work, no matter how abstract or esoteric, is never separate from the community or culture to which it belongs.  Art is part of a broader conversation that references history, language, privilege and experience.  And artists, as members of a community, refer to this conversation – whether consciously or not. Through the public display of their work the artist speaks to their community and the public, and in so doing echoes their people’s aspirations by demanding acknowledgement.

The United States has been called a melting pot because of the ethnic and racial diversity of its population.  Taller Puertorriqueño, by calling attention to cultural distinctions and experiences, both challenges this notion and proves it true: Integration matters, but not at the cost of losing one’s identity.

For further information or images, please contact Rafael Damast @ 215-426-3311 or rdamast@tallerpr.org

 

For more information, download the description of the show here.

Para obtener más información, descargue la descripción del espectáculo aquí.

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