Mar 31, 2023
Connecticut and Puerto Rico have strong ties. The guest for this episode is Pablo Delano, a visual artist, photographer, and educator recognized for his use of Connecticut and Puerto Rican history in his work, including his 2020 book of photography Hartford Seen published by Wesleyan University Press, a Connecticut Book Award 2021 “Spirit of Connecticut” finalist. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, he is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Fine Arts at Trinity College in Hartford. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions in museums and galleries in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Over the course of 20 years Delano amassed a substantial archive of artifacts related to a century of Puerto Rican history. Using this material, including three-dimensional objects, newspaper clippings, and photographs, he created The Museum of the Old Colony, a dynamic, site-specific art installation that examines the complex and fraught history of U.S. colonialism, paternalism, and exploitation in Puerto Rico. The title is a play on words, referencing both the island’s political status and Old Colony, a popular local soft drink. The work is also deeply personal, a means for Delano to better understand and come to terms with the troubling history of Puerto Rico. Pablo was chosen by Connecticut Explored as a Connecticut History Game Changer Honoree in celebration of the magazine’s 20th anniversary in 2022-23. Professor Delano has been featured on Grating the Nutmeg in episode 123 discussing his book of photographs Hartford Seen and in episode 152 Hartford and Puerto Rico: A Conversation between Delano and Puerto Rican historian Elena Rosario. He has an article in the Spring 2023 issue of Connecticut Explored - read here: www.ctexplored.org/game-changer-topsy-in-the-tropics/
While we might not be able to travel to see the exhibition in person, the University of Virginia Press has published a beautiful full-color catalog that includes a collection of very insightful essays edited by Laura Katzman as well as photos of the exhibition. It’s available for purchase on Amazon-The Museum of the Old Colony, An Art Installation by Pablo Delano, 2023.
For more about Delano’s work, go to his website at http://museumoftheoldcolony.org/about/curatorial/
To see his photo essay on Hartford’s Puerto Rican streetscapes- https://www.ctexplored.org/visually-breathtaking-hartford-explored/
Listen to his Grating the Nutmeg episodes here:
Connecticut Explored, the nonprofit organization that publishes Connecticut Explored magazine, announced its “20 for 20: Innovation in Connecticut History,” series highlighting 20 “Game Changers” whose work is advancing the study, interpretation, and dissemination of Connecticut history. The initiative, funded by Connecticut Humanities and sponsored by Trinity College, is the centerpiece of Connecticut Explored’s year-long celebration of its 20th anniversary. Subscribe at ctexplored.org
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