Ada Balcácer: Outstanding Figure of National and Latin American Art.

Ada Balcácer (Santo Domingo, June 16, 1930) is a Dominican visual artist. She studied at the National School of Fine Arts in Santo Domingo and at the Arts Students League in New York. In the Dominican Republic, she was a student of Dominican visual arts masters Celeste Woss y Gil, Manolo Pascual, Joseph Gausachs, Gilberto Hernández Ortega, and Luichy Martínez Richiez.

Photo of Ada Balcácer by Nicole Sanchez -

Biography of Ada Balcácer by Myrna Guerrero

Ada Balcácer recognized artist, designer, printmaker, painter, muralist, cultural promoter, theorist and teacher who has spread her knowledge and experiences in various parts of the Dominican Republic, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and the United States, where she lives today.

She's an artístic personality of Caribbean descent, whose aesthetical, theoretical approaches, and quality of work, make her an essential figure in the history of art from the Caribbean and Latin America.

A Brief Recount Of Her Life And Molding

Ada is Balcácer, a woman, dark skinned, born in poverty to parents who believed in the importance of education for human improvement. She was born in Santo Domingo, on June 16, 1930, in the town of San Carlos de Tenerife, and lived in Villa Francisca, two popular neighborhoods of the Dominican capital.

Her early childhood years were spent between Santo Domingo and San Juan de la Maguana, land of Anacaona and Canoabo-Cacique taíno de Maguana -- and Olivorio Mateo, the rebelious healer of the early twentieth century, that the time has transformed into magica-religious figure of Dominican legend.

She grew up under the guidance of her grandfather, Catedral de los Santos, a member of the Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit and overseer of the estate of Domingo Rodriguez and his descendants for three generations.

Thanks to the strong initial education received, she entered formal education by the fourth grade. She then permanently settled in Santo Domingo, but maintained the bond with San Juan de la Maguana, which later became her vacation home.

Her early teachers, the Cambero sisters, Matilde García de Ricart and Musetta Peynado - all trained under the pedagogical method of Eugenio Maria de Hostos' of liberating education -- Balcácer learned to conquer space and freedom, combining work, discipline and excellence.

Positivistic and pragmatic, intuitive and suspicious, the young student avidly read classics and contemporary works. Learned to love poetry, and assimilated the importance of combining craft and intellectual formation as instruments for peoples to come out of poverty. Pricinples which she would later apply to succesful program fro destitute women.

The restless youth dreamed of being medical surgeon, but one event changed her life and career plans. During the Easter holiday of 1946, she lost her left arm in an accident.

She recounts, attending the Palm Sunday parade in San Juan de la Maguana with her childhood friends. Balcácer was riding a horse, and slid from her saddle, hitting a curb on the street and fracturing her wrist.

A twist of fate had caused her to lose the fractured left arm and become a painter, as the great Mexican muralist, José Clemente Orozco, who also had only the right arm.

"... when I lost my arm, for two months I was disoriented in my decisions. a
friend pushed me towards art, and I found my destiny..."

Anchored by the Hostonian method with which he learned to learn, there exist a spirit within Ada Balcáce, of constant searching and processing constraints, embodied in 3 strengths; critical observation is one of its pillars. Carefully observing hersurroundings and the forms of its essence: traditions, landscape, nature, human, social events, political movements, hopes and frustrations of women in particular and the society in which it operates.

Some initial drawing skills became a permanent source of creativity with the guidance of Manolo Pascual in drawing, Josep Gausachs y Gilberto Hernández Ortega in painting, and the brush gestures of Celeste Woss y Gil, at the National School of Fine Arts Santo Domingo, from which she graduated in 1951.

Personal circumstances offered new opportunities for growth in her artistic training. Her marriage to a baseball player presented the opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico. There she had the chance to work with artists like Eugenio Fernández Granell at Mural Workshop at the University of Puerto Rico and participate with José Alicea and Rafael Trufiño at the First Biennial Ateneo in Puerto Rico.

From San Juan, she traveled to the United States, and settled in New York, where she remained until 1961, working as a textile designer, becaming the first Dominican textile designer. A few years later, a visit to Mauricio Lasansky's workshop in Iowa - considered the father of modern-rprint-making, helped expand her horizons in fine arts.

Daughter, wife, mother, lover, revolutionary, tenacious, a complete and totalizing woman as sensitive and tender as she is hard and voracious, generous and caring, in Ada Balcácer we have an exceptional human being.

This short biography of Ada Balcácer is a translation of Myrna Guerrero's ADA BALCÁCER: MAESTRÍA Y OSADÍA DE UNA ARTISTA EXCEPCIONAL.

Myrna Guerrero Villalona is a visual artist, art historian and critic. Member of the Dominican Association of Art Critics (ADCA) and the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). Currently he is Director of Bellapart Museum in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

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