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This text introduces the print portfolio, Cuba-Colombia, raíces comunes [Cuba/Colombia, Common Roots], the second work of the Corporación Prográfica [Prográfica Association] (Cali, Colombia)—after El graficario de la lucha popular en Colombia [Graphic Portfolio of the People’s Struggle in Colombia] (1977). The Cuba/Colombia portfolio brought together the work of contemporary artists in both nations. The institutional discourse explains that the ties between Cuba and Colombia (with the multicultural past they share) arises from their unique way of making the world their own, given Cuba’s West Indian cultural roots and Colombia’s Caribbean/Andean roots. According to this text, the common background assures “the hugely significant, expressive richness of our artists, who have great creative capacity.” In addition, this introduction presents the authors who write in the portfolio Cuba-Colombia, raíces comunes. The preface was by the Cuban poet, Nicolás Guillén, and the introduction was written by the Colombian poet and art critic, Luis Vidales. This document includes a glossary of graphic arts terms, as well as a short biographical sketch of the six Cuban artists who were included in the project: Wifredo Lam, Luis Martínez Pedro, René Portocarrero, Mariano Rodríguez, Carmelo González and Raúl Martínez. The six Colombians represented in the portfolio are: Pedro Nel Gómez, Alejandro Obregón, Enrique Grau, Juan Antonio Roda, Augusto Rendón and Pedro Alcántara Herrán, who came up with the idea for the project.


The importance of this document is that it introduces the portfolio, Cuba-Colombia, raíces comunes, which broadened the work of the Corporación Prográfica (1977–87), directed by the printmaker and painter, Pedro Alcántara Herrán (b. 1942) and the film producer, María Eudoxia Arango. In particular, this portfolio compiled texts by writers and art critics as well as artworks from both countries by artists with outstanding experience, many of whom shared political commitments.

The Corporación Prográfica first entered the public eye with its portfolio, El graficario de la lucha popular en Colombia (1977), and it maintained cultural ties with socialist countries such as Cuba through the painter, Mariano Rodríguez (1912–1990). In 1980, Rodríguez was appointed director of Casa de las Américas [House of the Americas] (a Cuban cultural institution with great influence in Latin America), following the death of its director and founder, Haydée Santamaría (1922–1980).

Starting in the 1960s, the city of Cali led the rise of graphic arts in Colombia, with drawing and printing events on a continental level that were promoted there (see “I Bienal Americana de Artes Gráficas” [doc. no. 1075853]). Cali was also a graphic arts center based on the workshops given at the Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia [La Tertulia Museum of Modern Art] and at the Corporación Prográfica. One of the association’s efforts was to promote international agreements that allowed the circulation of works by Colombian artists in socialist countries such as the exhibition, Intergrafik, in [East] Berlin. In addition, it offered affordable printing prices, competitive with those in the Latin American print market.

Adriana María Ríos Díaz
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of Pedro Alcántara Herrán Martínez, Calí, Colombia