The archive surveys five decades of Puerto Rican graphic art, and includes images by Rafael Tufiño, Lorenzo Homar, José Rosa, Analida Burgos, Antonio Matorell, Luis Cajiga, Luis Alonso, Carmelo Sobrino, Eduardo Vera Cortés, Domingo Garcia, Carlos Osorio, Jesus Cardona, José Alicea, Isaac Novoa, Ismael Hidalgo and more. Amassed by a college student in the 1970s, who worked in the studios of Tufiño, Homar and Rosa, a number of the prints and posters have signatures and inscriptions by the artists.
The colorful “carteles” advertise a wide range of topics including movies, cultural events, sporting, drama and fine art exhibitions, as well as celebrations both secular and religious. The posters cover a broad spectrum of typographic, geometric, and figurative styles.
The majority of these posters were produced under the auspices of DIVEDCO, Puerto Rico’s Division of Community Education, which was in operation from 1949 to 1989. The organization was much like the mainland United States WPA program of the 1930s, in that it was responsible for educating the Puerto Rican populace on social issues like health and education, as well as for broader pursuits such the arts, democracy and the economy. The efforts were largely carried out through the distribution of books, pamphlets and films, for which artists designed posters. The division’s work was aimed at educating and “transforming its rural population into a model of modern, democratic citizenry.”1 DIVEDCO was the artistic foundation from which the vibrant Puerto Rican poster tradition sprang. Collectively, these images present a window into the history and rich cultural heritage of Puerto Rico and form a cornerstone of the island’s modern cultural identity.
Smithsonian, “Posters from the Division of Community Education [DIVEDCO] of Puerto Rico, 1949-1989,” Press release, Sept 17, 2008