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Bomba and Plena Festival continues with exhibition and dance performance

The exhibition will feature the work of nine Puerto Rican master artists

Sep 11, 2012 | Article by: Judy Holmes

Screen print of a Bomba Plena Festival poster

Screen print of a poster for Bomba and Plena festival in Puerto Rico

The inaugural Syracuse-area Bomba and Plena Festival presented by La Casita Cultural Center and La Liga, the Spanish Action League of Onondaga County, continues on Sept. 17, 2012 with the opening of the exhibition Puerto Rican Bomba and Plena: A Graphic History. An opening reception and celebration will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at La Casita, 109 Otisco St. The reception is free and open to the public.

The festivities will include Bomba and Plena dance performances by community youth who have been participating in dance workshops held at La Casita under the direction of Luz Encarnación, choreographer and program director. The dancers will be wearing traditional costumes hand-sewn for this event by a group of talented Westside neighborhood mothers and grandmothers. The youth will also showcase the vejiganes (masks) they created for the festival in collaboration with Leslie Archer, education director for Open Hand Theater, Syracuse, NY.

The art exhibit, Puerto Rican Bomba and Plena: A Graphic History presents the works of nine Puerto Rican master artists who were commissioned to create screen prints to capture the spirit of the annual Bomba and Plena Festivals held in Puerto Rico. Their posters have been collected and preserved by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture in San Juan. Exhibit curator Pedro “Capitol” Clemente will provide a tour of the prints on display in the La Casita Gallery during the opening reception.

The exhibition will continue in the La Casita Gallery through Nov. 4, 2012. The gallery is free and open to the public. Hours are noon to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Bomba and Plena Festivals have been a Puerto Rican tradition for some 40 years and are increasing in popularity in the continental United States. The festival at La Casita Cultural Center is co-sponsored by Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences and SU’s University College.
Teacher and student bomba dancing at La Casita

Luz Encarnacion (left) teaches Kimberly Sepio how to Bomba dance at La Casita Cultural Center

Highlighted artists:
José R. Alicea: Alicea prints, serigraphs, and posters have been included in shows in Puerto Rico, Mexico, New York, and Europe and are in the collections of New York’s Metropolitan Museum and Museum of Modern Art. He is currently the artistic director of Coffee Magazine published by the Puerto Rico Cooperative of Coffee Growers.

Luis Alonso: Alonso studied at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña under José Alicea and Lorenzo Homar. In 1974 he began work at theTaller de Gráfica of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña and has worked out of the collective Taller Bija, along with Rafael Tufiño, Antonio Maldonado, and Ángel Casiano, among others

Luis Germán Cajigas: Cajiga studied in the Division of Community Education in San Juan where he was a student of Lorenzo Homar, Rafael Tufiño, and Fran Cervoni, among others. While known mostly for his work silk screening, Cajiga is also known for his work in acrylic. He is also writer, publishing five books of poetry, 12 theology books, and a vegetarian recipe book. His studio is in Old San Juan.

Jesús Cardona: Cardona studied art at the Escuelas de Artes Gráficas, where he began his career as a designer of posters. He works at the Taller de Gráfica of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña.

Sixto Cotto: A painter, illustrator and teacher, Cotto obtained a bachelor’s degree in the School of Fine Arts of the Puerto Rican Cultural Institute, where he studied under renowned Puerto Rican artists José R. Alicea and Antonio Martorell. His work was included in The Poster in Puerto Rico: 1946-1985 and in The Serigraph Print in Puerto Rico: Four Decades, both presented in the Museum of the University of Puerto Rico.

David Goitia (1952-1985): An insatiable painter, a master in tracing, a great illustrator, whose work focused on Taino themes and Puerto Rican folklore.

Samuel Lind: Lind’s work is inspired by the Santiago Apóstol festivities, the popular bomba music and dance, local personalities, and the beauty of the east coast scenery. Also an activist, Lind heads a movement to stop gentrification in his beloved coastal town.

Luis Maisonet Ramos: Ramos worked as a designer and poster artist in the Graphic Arts workshop in the Cultural Activities Department at the University of Puerto Rico. His work is found in the permanent collections of the Ponce Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of Art, Anthropology and History at the University of Puerto Rico, as well as in other museums in Havana and New York.

Nelson Sambolin: Sambolin is a professor of graphic arts at the University of Puerto Rico. He maintains a working studio at his residence in Rio Piedras.

About La Casita
La Casita is a vibrant cultural, artistic, and educational center supported by Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of the Chancellor.  The Center is committed to promoting and documenting the arts and culture of Central New York’s Latino/Latin American community through collaborative programming in the visual and expressive arts, education, and community activism.


Contact Information

Judy Holmes