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    Entrevista a Omar Rayo : Jurado de la Sexta Bienal del Grabado Latinoamericano. / Margarita Fernández

    Plástica (San Juan, Puerto Rico). -- no. 11 (Nov. 1983)

    p. 3-5
    Journal article – Interviews
    Fernández, Margarita. "Entrevista a Omar Rayo, Jurado de la Sexta Bienal del Grabado Latinoamericano." Plástica, no. 11 (Nov. 1983): 3-5
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The Puerto Rican historian Margarita Fernández Zavala interviews the Colombian artist Omar Rayo about his participation and experience as a juror for the Sexta Bienal del Grabado Latinoamericano [6th Biennial of Latin American Graphic Art] in San Juan, Puerto Rico (1983). Rayo emphasizes the change in the biennial’s rules and procedures, the selection of the works, and how the prizes were awarded. In spite of these changes, he believes that the biennials are indispensable for the development of printmaking. He concludes by stating that silkscreen printing is not printmaking; rather, it is illustration and therefore should not be included as a medium in the biennial.


In 1983, Lorenzo Homar had taken the medium of silkscreen printing to new heights, with recognition in Puerto Rico and in other Latin American countries. Presented here, however, is the somehow reactionary stance of Omar Rayo (1928–2010) who believed the medium should not be included in the biennial. Also of note, almost all Puerto Rican artists use silkscreen printing, as it is part of the Puerto Rican graphic tradition.

The Biennial de San Juan del Grabado Latinoamericano was one of the most important events held in the Caribbean region, given that it fostered an exchange of ideas and contact among different artists. The first of these biennials was organized by the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña [Institute of Puerto Rican Culture] (ICP) in 1970. Printmaking was selected because it was a form of expression that was widely practiced by Puerto Rican artists, who were producing very high quality work. In 1986, “y del Caribe” [and Caribbean] was added to the name of the biennial so it could include that geographic area in the event. Parallel to this change, the biennial included two exhibitions to recognize artists’ work: one to honor a Puerto Rican artist and the other to honor a foreign artist.

Plástica magazine, where this review was published, was an art publication that appeared fairly regularly in Puerto Rico. It began modestly enough in 1968, as the newsletter of the Liga de arte de San Juan [San Juan Art League], but changed its name in 1978 to Plástica revista de la Liga de estudiantes de San Juan [San Juan Student League Visual Arts Magazine]. Its very specific title notwithstanding, the twenty-one issues of the magazine explored a wide range of subjects within the broad parameters of Puerto Rican and Latin American art, filling its pages with retrospective coverage of subjects, such as the V Bienal de San Juan del grabado latinoamericano y del Caribe [5th San Juan Biennial of Latin American and Caribbean Prints] (1981), Puerto Rican architecture, and Latin American visual arts. The first editorial board of the magazine included Hélène Saldaña, Delta Picó, Cordelia Buitrago, and J.M. García Segovia. In addition to the many essays written by top Puerto Rican thinkers, the magazine published contributions from some of the leading Latin American artists and critics, such as Luis Camnitzer, Damián Bayón, Jacqueline Barnitz, Samuel Cherson, Joseph Alsop, Omar Rayo, and Ricardo Pau Llosa, among many others.

Flavia Marichal
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Courtesy of Margarita Fernández Zavala, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras