The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
Marcos Dimas, an artist and cofounder of Taller Boricua [Puerto Rican Workshop], relates the early history and ideals of the Taller. The three main objectives of the artists who founded the collective were: 1) to create a forum for the artistic exploration of Puerto Rican heritage; 2) establish a graphic art workshop and studio space that produced art for the surrounding community; and 3) train and encourage young artists of all disciplines. Dimas recalls that the original founders were socially conscious and politically active. He notes that early members of Taller Boricua were inspired by an eclectic array of sources including: Taino culture, African, and Native-American art, Puerto Rican graphic art, the artist Francisco Oller (1833–1917), Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, and objets trouvés [found objects].
Marcos Dimas (b. 1943) is one of the founders of Taller Boricua (originally named Taller Alma Boricua), the oldest artist collective in East Harlem (also referred to as El Barrio). Written for the twentieth anniversary of the Taller, Dimas’s essay provides a firsthand account of the early history of the collective and establishes that Taller Boricua founders were active in the Art Workers Coalition and the Vietnam anti-war movement in the late 1960s.
Dimas emphasizes that artists who joined Taller Boricua were committed to linking their artistic practice to social change, and discusses the conflicts and questions that artists confronted in their efforts to create meaningful art in El Barrio. Both Dimas’s essay, as well as the chronology of Taller Boricua—written by Diogenes Ballester for the twentieth anniversary catalogue—contain the most detailed information on Taller Boricua published thus far.