New exhibition explores the legacy of colonialism in Puerto Rico through visual culture

JMU News

The Museum of the Old Colony: an art installation by Pablo Delano

Feb. 1-March 26, 2022

Opening reception: Tuesday, Feb. 1, 5-7 p.m. Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art

Artist’s talk by Pablo Delano at 5:30 p.m. with remarks by Dr. Laura Katzman, guest curator

Public Event: Film screening and panel discussion on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 5:30-8 p.m. in the Duke Gallery Courtyard 

The Museum of the Old Colony is an ongoing, site-specific, conceptual art installation by visual artist Pablo Delano that studies how everyday objects, imagery and film have shaped misperceptions of Puerto Rico after the Spanish-American War of 1898, when it was seized by the United States military from Spain as a "possession."  The exhibition will open at James Madison University’s Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art on Feb. 1, 5-7 p.m., with remarks by guest curator Laura Katzman and an artist’s talk by Delano.

With dry wit and sardonic humor, the exhibition confronts the stereotypes of Puerto Rico spread by mainstream media over the past 124 years; the relationship between U.S. imperial power and the island-nation; and the lasting and devastating legacies of colonial rule.

The gallery will host a film screening and panel discussion on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 5:30-8 p.m. in the Duke Gallery Courtyard. Cecilia Aldarondo’s award-winning documentary Landfall is about the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Panelists will include: Taína Caragol (Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery); Nefin Dinc (SMAD/JMU); Ángel Garcia (Geology/JMU); Amanda Guzmán (Trinity College); and Marianne Ramírez Aponte (Museum of Contemporary Art, Puerto Rico). 

Delano was born in Puerto Rico and holds a B.F.A. from Tyler School of Art/Temple University and an M.F.A. from Yale University, both in painting. He has taught at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. since 1996, producing a book of black and white photographs, In Trinidad, documenting the nation’s post-colonial nation building, while collecting the archival images and artifacts that would ultimately grow into The Museum of the Old Colony. In 2019, Delano was appointed Charles A. Dana Professor of Fine Arts.

Katzman is a JMU art history professor who specializes in documentary photography on the U.S. continent and in Puerto Rico during the New Deal and post-World War II eras. She is the editor and an essayist for this installation’s catalogue, which will include essays by noted scholars, including Gallery Director Dr. Beth Hinderliter, a foreword by Marianne Ramírez Aponte (Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico), and an extensive interview with the artist. 

The Museum of the Old Colony lives in the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico | Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico and has traveled around the world. 

Contact Beth Hinderliter at (540) 568-6407 or by email at for more information or to schedule a group visit. 


Gallery information:

The gallery is free to all guests. Please contact the gallery for groups larger than 25. Visit for location, hours and parking information.

Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art’s mission is to present the highest level of fine art experiences and to create an active space for robust discourse of vital issues facing our society. It is a space where the local and academic community share ideas about contemporary art and our wider cultural experiences. Art breaks barriers between languages and brings us together to be inspired and knowledgeable citizens, no matter where we come from.



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Published: Friday, January 28, 2022

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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