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“The Artists Respond: Art, Culture, Politics” is a transcript of artists’ responses to questions posed by Juan Sánchez, curator of the exhibition The Puerto Rican Equation: Puerto Rican Artists Ponder 100 Years Since the 1898 Invasion. Among the questions Sánchez posed were: Are national and cultural symbols, icons, and patriotic or historical references still valid today or are they now cliché? Moreover, Is there a Puerto Rican aesthetic and what are its characteristics? The artists who participated in the exhibition and discussion sessions were: José R. Alicea, José Luis Cortés, Elizam Escobar, Anaida Hernández, Luis de Jesús, Lillian Mulero, Martín García Rivera, Gloria Rodríguez, Pepón Osorio, Rafael Rivera Rosa, Melquiades Rosario Sastre, and Bibiana Suárez.


Juan Sánchez (b. 1954) is a painter, printmaker and professor of fine arts at Hunter College (New York City). In his youth, Sánchez was an artist and activist during the emergence of the Puerto Rican empowerment movement in New York in the 1960s and 1970s. Sánchez’s art work and curatorial projects address sociopolitical issues, such as Puerto Rican independence, freedom for political prisoners, and neocolonialism in the Americas. The catalogue and exhibition, The Puerto Rican Equation, was part of an effort by artists in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to respond critically to the Centennial of the Spanish-American War of 1898.

Yasmin Ramirez
Courtesy of Juan Sánchez, Guariken, Inc., Brooklyn, NY