From left to right: Soledad Romero, Ernest Ialongo, Orlando José Hernández, Angel Morales, Toño Martorell, Pedro Juan Hernández, William Casari, Nydia Edgecombe, Wally Edgecombe, and Arcadio Díaz Quiñonez.
From left to right: Soledad Romero, Ernest Ialongo,
Orlando José Hernández, Angel Morales, Toño Martorell,
Pedro Juan Hernández, William Casari, Nydia Edgecombe,
Wally Edgecombe, and Arcadio Díaz Quiñonez.
As Hostos Community College continues its yearlong celebration of the 175th birth date of Eugenio María de Hostos, the College welcomed a special guest on October 21 with the visit of internationally renowned artist Antonio Martorell, affectionately known throughout as, “Toño” Martorell.

In a spirited lecture entitled, “Hostos By Us,” Martorell showed a series of paintings, drawings, sculptures and other artwork that perhaps best represented who Eugenio María de Hostos was, both physically and philosophically. The popular event was attended by students, faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as Hostos Community College Interim President David Gómez, and Professors Ernest Ialongo and Orlando Hernández, the Hostos175 th celebration co-coordinators.

Both Ialongo and Hernández talked about the importance of incorporating an artistic component into the Hostos175 schedule of events.
 “Martorell distinctly articulated how various generations of artists from the Caribbean and Latin America responded to Hostos’ humanistic ideals and his educational agenda. Hostos was a cosmopolitan, a traveller, a “patriot of the world,” to use one of his phrases. Martorell is also an internationalist, with deep roots in his native Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. They share a common vision,” said Professor Orlando Hernández.

Born in Puerto Rico in 1939, Martorell’s prolific work has received wide international acclaim. The accomplished graphic artist, set designer, installation master, narrator, university professor, and journalist is known for exploring the conjunction of various forms of artistic expression and the relationship of art to the viewer using witty, powerful and engaging ways.

Martorell explained that while Hostos is one of the most richly portrayed 19th-century intellectuals in contemporary Caribbean history, only a handful of photographs were taken of him, due to his limited budget and his nonconformity. As Hostos became a prominent educator, Martorell explained how painters first began to portray him— first in Chile in the 1890s, then in Santo Domingo in the early 1900s. Martorell also showed the classical portrait of Hostos that was painted by Puerto Rican artist Francisco Oller in 1903.

For Professor Ernest Ialongo, “Having Antonio Martorell come to Hostos to help celebrate Hostos175 was a wonderful experience. He made Hostos the man accessible in a way that I think will stay with our audience for quite some time. Martorell expertly identified the passion that Hostos elicited from the artists that depicted him, and quite frankly it was one of the best talks I have ever heard.”

No stranger to the college, Martorell said that because Eugenio María de Hostos believed that education was the main tool of freedom, the college that bears his name is upholding his legacy very well.

 “I always come back to Hostos,” Martorell said. “Hostos addresses us all.”

You can watch Antonio Martorell’s lecture here.

More about Maestro Antonio Martorell
In 2006, Martorell was an artist in residence at Hostos Community College and created a permanent installation titled “La plena inmortal,” which can be seen in the foyer of the C-Building. In 2010, he participated in the New York Historical Society and Museo del Barrio’s joint exhibit Nueva York 1613-1945, with the installation La guagua aérea, which centers on the Puerto Rican immigrant experience. His most recent exhibit, IMALABRA, a retrospective of his work celebrating his 75th birthday, opened in April in Havana, Cuba, and has travelled to México City and Madrid.

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique "Student Success Coaching Unit" provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services.  

Recently named one of the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 480,000 students at 24 colleges.