We continue our features on the artists in the Digital exhibition, which opens on April 24, with Pablo Delano:
Pablo Delano is a Professor of Fine Arts at the Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1954, he attended the Tyler School of Art, Temple University (BFA, 1976) and the Yale University School of Art (MFA, 1979). An exhibiting artist since the 1970s, Delano’s
recent solo exhibitions include Drum Trinidad: Skin and Steel (2006-2007) and The Museum of the Old Colony, which was shown at Alice Yard, Trinidad in February 2016. He has contributed to numerous publications, mainly on photography, and he has published a book of black and white photographs examining post-colonial identity in Trinidad, titled In Trinidad (2008, Ian Randle Publishers). Delano lives and works in the USA.
About the Work
“The Museum of the Old Colony appropriates historical imagery and satirizes traditional ‘first world’ historical/ethnographic museum conventions. It derives its name from a U.S. brand of soft drink named Old Colony, popular in Puerto Rico since the 1950s. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico endures 523 years of ongoing colonial rule – first under Spain, then the U.S, since 1898. The island, an ‘unincorporated territory of the United States,’ is widely regarded as the world’s oldest colony.”
“The Museum of the Old Colony employs still photographs and moving images of Puerto Rico – along with their original captions or descriptive language – created mostly by U.S. photographers, mostly for the consumption a U.S. general public. They bear witness to the colonial oppression imposed by the U.S. institutional and cultural fabric on virtually all aspects of Puerto Rican life. With sardonic humour and wit, the resulting installation references traditional historical or anthropological museums and their use of ethnographic imagery and didactic text panels. However, it also evokes the tragic injustices and numbing legacy of exploitation suffered by Puerto Rico and its people.”
“While The Museum of the Old Colony repurposes archival images, which are duplicated directly on a digital photocopier or scanned and laser printed. Digital technology makes possible the relatively high quality black and white duplication of images at an insignificant cost. … I purposefully intend to strip away any intrinsic value from the exhibited material so as to make it clear that the content of the image is what’s at play, not any notion of a collectible, sentimental, or precious object.”