Puerto Rico is the oldest colony in the world, a territorial possession ceded to the United States after it invaded the islands in 1898 during the Spanish American War, or in the words of Rita Indiana: ‘a social experiment full of contradictions’. In 1917, Puerto Ricans were imposed US citizenship; by 1970, New York City’s Puerto Rican population reached its zenith, making Puerto Ricans the city’s largest ‘minority’ population during that decade. Puerto Rican contributions to the city of New York are far and varied, from bodegas to salsa, from the Young Lords to Spanish being taught in elementary schools, from Pedro Pietri’s poetry and the Nuyorican movement to Hip-Hop, from Puerto Ricans involvement in Communist and Socialist parties to their contributions to the city via co-op buildings and social clubs forming close social webs. La Bodega Sold Dreams seeks to uncover the cultural legacy of Puerto Ricans in the city by presenting a body of films that captured the sentiment, makeup and preoccupations of displaced Puerto Ricans living in the U.S. metropolis. This series dabbles with the constructions edified by both outsiders and insiders of the Puerto Rican diaspora, during two decades where Puerto Ricans were demonized for anything including being unclassifiable, minding your business, and bombing the Defense Department in Madison Avenue in support for Puerto Rican Independence.
Programmed in collaboration with Caroline Gil. Special thanks to Larry Revene, Carlos de Jesus, Robert B. Young, Diego Echeverria, XFR Collective and David E. Wilt.