The Free Registry commemorates the legacy of the African Diaspora and serves as a counterpoint to the 1852 Slave Registry of the Village of Ponce, a perfunctory list of owners and their “properties” with descriptions that painfully reveal the inhumanity of slavery. Visitors, regardless of their bloodline, are invited to connect with our shared history. TO COMMENT, JUST CLICK ON ANY OF THE POST TITLES

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


While the substance of this work is moving, I would like to explore this exhibit more formalistically.  The juxtaposition of the old and the new, the historical with the present and future, old media and new media.  When does a repurposed text, a registry, become art?  When does a web site or blog become art?  Or do they?  Diogenes Ballester's work brings several disparate elements (found objects from Spanish Harlem, an old slave registry from Ponce, his paintings, his web site and blog) together into a new totality or whole from which meaning or meanings are generated -- residing partially in the exhibition as a sum of its parts and also in the visitor.  There is a clash and a synthesis.  The clash is where the truth lies, I think, artistically and philosophically.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Powerful and Hurtful Exhibition

This exhibition is both powerful and hurtful reminding us of the inhumanity that enslavement has had in our history.  It provides a historical context for understanding the continued destructive legacy of racism, discrimination and injustice.  This important exhibition that connects us internationally allows us to examine how going forward we must actively work against injustice, racism and discrimination.  Thank you Diogenes, Judy and Medianoche for helping us understand our history and define our future work.

Marta Moreno Vega
Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute

Words Cannot Describe

Words cannot describe the impact of Diogenes Ballester's exhibition.  I would recommend this to everyone.

Jewel Jones
Community Board #11

May 17, 2008, 4:21PM

Saturday, May 17, 2008


My name is Deborah Ann Smith  Rivera.  I had an uncle in Richmond, Virginia whose name was Army Bullock.  Ella Mae Smith was my great-great-grandmother.  Someone's name was also Francis Smith.  There was also a Frank Smith.  My grandmother's name was Genieva (Geneva ).  She married James Hyder Bullock,  an Indian, Cherokee or Black Foot Indian. Geneva's brothers  are several. But I only remember Frank and Henry.  The state of Virginia was called Kentucky,  according to old maps. My mom's name is Ella Mae Bullock (Dorris), who then married Jesse James Smith.  I, of course, married Ramon (Llanos) Rivera in  New York City.

the statues look like people.

i like the way the statues look because they give me ideas of drawing cartoons.

A Chilling Registry and a Shared History

This registry is chilling but unfortunately not surprising. It documents the inhumanity of human beings in a most blatant form. The men and women are treated as commodities with their value (or lack of) to the slave owners based solely on their physical qualities. 

I commend MediaNoche for bringing us a glimpse of this exhibition. It's so educational for us to see verification that Latinos and African American share the same ancestry and unfortunately the same mistreatment.

L. Prout

Ponce Slave Registry

I enjoyed the exhibition by  Diogenes Ballestar  who is educating  this community of the history of Africans in Puerto Rico.  This exhibition has open my eyes to ancestors unknown, who come alive as I visually review actual slave documents from Ponce, Puerto Rico.  I thank  the MediaNoche Gallery for providing an artistic venue for artist's  like Ballestar and for educating me on my African Roots. 

Modupe Y Aché Pa Tí  (Gracias) 

Brunilda Vega
Community Board #11