Honoring the Living Black Archive was a conversation between archivists examining and working to preserve and sustain the legacy of communities and cultural memory via the living black archive. Our Black history/futures program began with a presentation paying homage to Hiram Maristany (1945-2022), a most prolific and renowned Afro-Nuyorican photographer, documentarian, and activist revered and respected for capturing the multifaceted lives of Puerto Ricans in East Harlem for over sixty years.

The discussion was moderated by En Foco’s Curator-at-Large, Tarisse Iriarte, and Melody Capote (Executive Director CCCADI) who is a long time friend of the late Maristany, she was joined by Chayanne Marcano (Independent Researcher), and Stephanie Alvarado (Archivist/Memory worker/Activist).

Our esteemed panelists were in conversation, detailing their archival practice and approaches to historical archiving, preservation and digitization. Their work amplifies how the Black archive aims to propel communities forward during a time of rapid cultural displacement. Panelists discussed how communities throughout New York City are turning to archives as a tool for activism and to memorialize relationships. The conversation focused on how black archives bring together communities from across the diaspora who share similar and distinct histories of struggle, joy and radical imagination

En Foco is supported in part with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, The Mellon Foundation, BronxCare Health System, The Joy of Giving Something, Inc., Rockefeller Brothers Fund Culpeper Arts and Culture, New York Community Trust Mosaic Network & Fund, the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation, Ford Foundation, The Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Jerome Foundation, The Hispanic Federation and Aguado-Pavlick Arts Fund.

Special thanks to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, The Mapping Resistance Project, The Maristany Family and Estate, and Miguel Luciano for access to the materials necessary to highlight the artwork and legacy of Hiram Maristany.