Print Program Highlight: Adál’s Memorias Olividadas

If being out of focus means not being recognized, acknowledged or being in the present in the eyes of the dominant group, then this condition can be useful while you plot your subversive act of injecting yourself into their psyche or consciousness – by the time they recognize your presence it is too late.”  —-Adál, 2006

En Foco offers a beautiful limited edition print of Adál’s Memorias Olvidadas (Forgotten Memories) —a gelatin silver print measuring 7.5 x 7.5 inches

Puerto Rican artist Adál, has over the years created a large body of work that continuously questions the particular conditions of Puerto Ricans in the United States. Adál’s continual exploration of double/dual identity and what that means for Puerto Ricans in the United States has allowed for a discussion to emerge surrounding the conflict of double identity, and the psychological split between these identities.

Puerto Ricans have a interesting colonial history. We’re trying to preserve a national identity, and at the same time there is another identity being imposed on us… its like living in a schizophrenic world of not knowing.”

Adál’s work is not only created to address the general conflicts of Puerto Ricans in the United States, but used as an exploration of self as well. His work is almost always self-referential, and used as a therapeutic tool. It is a visual way of working through conflicts and a calming tool to encourage a healing process.

Memorias Olvidadas (1974), was inspired by a long lost melodramatic poem, written by Adál at the age of 14. This poem is about taking a walk within one’s self, a journey of self-exploration.  This piece was created while still attending the San Francisco Institute of Art. Adál crafted this image as a therapeutic tool, a response to a conflict he was facing at the time.

Fashioned in a similar structure as Surrealism, he searched for his own interpretation of Surrealism and Dadaism, and found his own voice. When discussing Memorias Olvidadas, Adál goes on to explain how he grew up with a sense of a “surreal language” and how he has always been inspired by Surrealism.

This piece is his own interpretation of what that “surreal” language has meant to him. This photo collage consists of a photograph of him writing in a journal, collaged onto an image of a shelf with a mirror hanging in the background and then re-photographed in its entirety. If looked at with a magnifier, one is actually able to read the poem that was written by a 14-year-old Adál.

Adál’s work has not only allowed for his own voice to be heard, but has allowed for other voices to become accessible as well. In an art world that has historically been dominated by a colonial force, artists like Adál are crucial in order to begin breaking down institutionalized colonialization that is so prevalent in today’s art world.

Hopefully one day, we will all have the opportunity to find our own voice.

There is a very limited quantity of Memorias Olvidadas prints available in En Foco’s Print Collectors Program (two left from an edition of 10), so if you are interested in owning a piece of history, be sure to claim your dibs soon!

Currently, Adál is in a solo-exhibition at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico in Santurce titled, Out of Focus Traffik Signs, on view through August 7th, 2011.

He will also be part of a group show on the History of Photography in Puerto Rico at Museo del Arsenal de la Puntilla, Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico, from August 25 – October 22, 2011, where two of his fotonovelas will be shown.

In addition to learning more about photographers of diverse cultures from En Foco’s website, you can learn more about Adál’s current work in our prior blog entry of his work “Please Touch, y otras ideas of Adál” (posted January 2010), in Nueva Luz photographic journal (volumes 9#2, 7#2 and 5#2), and at:


Leave a Reply