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Argentine critic Rafael Squirru writes a critical review of an exhibition of posters held at the Taller de Gráfica [Graphic Art Workshop] of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (ICP) [Institute of Puerto Rican Culture]. This workshop was led by the master printermaker Lorenzo Homar, who is considered the father of the Puerto Rican poster. In Squirru’s opinion, these silkscreen portraits, executed as advertisements of cultural events, skillfully meet the requirements of visual impact and adaptation to the message. The writer states that the poster is a sociological document left for posterity.


The exhibition to which the writer alludes was the exhibition/tribute organized in conjunction with the II Bienal de San Juan del Grabado Latinoamericano [2nd San Juan Biennial of Latin American Graphic Art] in 1972. In addition to the exhibition on the Puerto Rican poster, there was also an exhibition held to honor the work of Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada (1852–1913). That year, the seven purchase prizes were awarded to: Eduardo Cruz (Brazil), Alicia Orlandi (Argentina), Eduardo Vilches (Chile), Eduardo MacEntyre (Argentina), Rodolfo Abularach (Guatemala), Arnold Belkin (Mexico), and Alfonso Quijano Acero (Colombia).


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. 


Two related documents are: “La Segunda Bienal” [The 2nd Biennial] also by Rafael Squirru (see doc. No. 806395), and “Segunda Bienal de San Juan del Grabado Latinoamericano” [The 2nd San Juan Biennial of Latin American Graphic Art] by José A. Torres Martinó (see doc. No. 825048).


Flavia Marichal
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Courtesy of the private archives of Laura and Susan Homar Dämm, San Juan Puerto Rico, PR
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras