Diogenes Ballester '15


Ballester andrew.j.padilaPhoto edited from original by Andrew J Padila

DIÓGENES BALLESTER is a visual artist, educator, and writer. He holds and MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a BFA from the Catholic University of Puerto Rico. As a youth, he attended the prestigious art preparatory School of Visual Arts Miguel Pou and studied at the Ponce Museum of Art in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He has taught as Professor of Art at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Arts, in New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz, the College of New Rochelle, School of Arts and Science, and The State University of New York at Albany. He currently works full time in his studio in New York City and gives workshops and lectures at conferences and universities throughout the United States and the Caribbean.

For Ballester, one function of the artist, like that of the arteologist, is to discover, investigate, extrapolate meaning, and offer a reconfigured perspective on what has been left behind as artifacts. He has been blessed as a Puerto Rican with a rich religious, cultural, political, and familial heritage, which coupled with personal experiences, invites curiosity and investigation. These are the factors that interest him and through which he express his creativity. These are the memories embedded in his installations. This is the life energy manifested in the archeological artifacts, historical documents, and found objects. Taken together these apprehended, reconfigured, and re-contextualized components become altar like pieces that depict layers of history and culture. In these installations, he explore oral history, memory, mythology, ritual, and cultural identity along a transnational spectrum. He has appropriated cultural objects and historical artifacts together with painting, drawing, prints and new media as a way of accessing the past and re-interpreting the present in a trans-Caribbean dialogue.

Mr. Ballester has received numerous honors for his artistic work and has exhibited widely in the United States, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Recent awards and honors include: “Guest of Honor”, Second Guanlan International Print Biennial, Guanlan, China, 2009; “Best Exhibition of the Year in Contemporary Media”, International Association of Critics of Art (AICA), 2007; Individual Artist Grant, New York State Council for the Arts, 2006; Artist-in Residence, Alfonso Arana Foundation Award, Paris, France, 1999-2000; Honorable Award in Drawing Category, The 10th International Biennial of Print and Drawing Exhibition 2001, R.O.C., Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, R.O.C.; Gold Medal Winner, Painting, 3rd Caribbean and Central America Biennial of Painting, Museum of Modern Art, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 1996; Prize Winner in Painting, Institute of Puerto Rico, New York, New York, 1997; Artist’s Fellowship, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York, New York, 1991; Medal Winner, International Arts Competition-New York, 112 Street Gallery, New York, New York, 1986; Honorable Mention, VI San Juan Biennial of Latin American Printmaking, Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1983; Honorable Mention, First Annual Exhibition of Works on Paper, Queensboro, Community College, Queens, New York, 1982; Second Prize, Painting, Third Caribbean Mobil Oil Competition of Arts, The Carnegie Library, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1978.

Here's a recent article about him: Diogenes Ballester Blayero y Boricua Para El Mundo

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