Free Registry: Encounter, Mythology and Reality
May 17 – June 19, 2008: Exhibition at MediaNoche
New York City, USA
June 5 – September 7: Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Through traditional and new media, Diógenes Ballester interprets aspects of the African Diaspora in Puerto Rico. Encaustic drawings and paintings, sculptures and multimedia installations engage the visitor in an historical dialectic of personal discovery.
View the Slave Registry of the Village of Ponce, a 19th Century text cataloguing African men, women and children as property to be sold on the auction block. The registry lists some of the ancestors of Puerto Ricans (white and black) by name and provides an eery entrance into a world that legitimized the sale of human beings.
As a counterpoint to the Slave Registry, the Free Registry allows visitors to participate in the historical process. According to Ballester, “We experience the slave trade as a specific, local event in our country’s history, but it is and has always been a global phenomenon, affecting many people in different parts of the world.”