Jorge Soto Sánchez (1947-1987) was a prolific visual artist of Puerto Rican descent who lived and worked in New York City.  He was a painter, draftsman and printmaker. He was active in the community, a member of the Taller Boricua, an artists’ collective in Harlem, and was an educator at El Museo del Barrio.  Jorge was of the generation that shaped the Nuyorican Movement of the 60s and 70s, and 80s, in the City.  At the time Nuyorican writers, musicians, performers and visual artists were re-envisioning Puerto Rican identity and culture affirming a new Puerto Rican diasporic experience. The portrait on view in Collecting Memories is a woodcut image of José Martí, a Cuban poet, philosopher, professor, that was considered a Cuban national hero for his struggle against colonialism and for participating in the liberation of Cuba from Spain. Nuyoricans embraced Martí as a visionary leader and educator as the Movement participants protested U.S. colonialism in Puerto Rico. The female nude in this show is an ink drawing made on rice paper. This image is a play on Titian’s painting the Venus of Urbino. Jorge commented on this work saying this is the “Puerto Rican Venus of “El Barrio” surrounded by tormented figures and “phantoms.” Another work on view is a silkscreen made by him in 1987, the year he passed away due to AIDS. In the silkscreen he draws images of faces that appear to be in torment, including a face in the center that is a self-portrait.  Jorge had solo exhibitions in 1973, at Galería Tanama in Arecibo, Puerto Rico and in 1977, he had a solo exhibition at the Association of Hispanic Arts in New York. El Museo de Barrio exhibited a major production of his art work in 1979, featuring 60 of his pen and ink drawings.

JORGE SOTO SÁNCHEZ