Titled Ocama Aracoel, this gallery remains on view from the long-term exhibition Something Beautiful: Reframing La Colección, which reexamined El Museo del Barrio’s unique and culturally diverse permanent collection. Meaning “a call to the ancestors” in the Taíno language, Ocama Aracoel is the last iteration of the exhibition and foregrounds the importance of Taíno cultural inheritance.  As part of this project, El Museo invited a Taíno advisory council to guide the reinstallation of these spiritually resonant forms. 

The Taíno peoples have inhabited the Caribbean for many thousands of years. Their forms, symbols, and beliefs continue to provide a living resource for cultural reconnection within the Caribbean diasporic community. This visual language informed El Museo’s early mission and graphic identity. Similarly, these forms have shaped the practices of artists both in Puerto Rico and New York, including members of the influential Taller Boricua and their contemporaries. New commissions by Glendalys Medina and Jorge González Santos further activate these histories. Together, these dialogues reflect the ongoing vitality of Taíno culture and resist the racist notion of its extinction.

The exhibition is organized by Rodrigo Moura, chief curator; Susanna V. Temkin, curator; Lee Sessions, permanent collection associate curator; and Chloë Courtney, Marica and Jan Vilcek curatorial fellow; with Daniel A. Silva, registrar; and Michelle McVicker, former permanent collection associate registrar. Ocama Aracoel is advised by Christina Gonzalez and the Taíno council, formed by José Hatuey Barreiro, Kasike Jorge Baracutay Estevez, and Domingo Turey Hernandez. 

Something Beautiful: Reframing La Colección is made possible by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, with additional support provided by Tony Bechara. Public support provided by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. Additional permanent collection funding provided by the Mellon Foundation.