|Born||Tomás Batista Encarnación
Luquillo, Puerto Rico
|Education||Trained at Puerto Rican Institute of Culture under the direction of the Maestro Compostela.|
|Notable work(s)||Crucifixion, Monumento al Jíbaro Puertorriqueño sculptures of Julia de Burgos, Hayuya, Rafael Hernández and the monument of the Cacique Loguillo|
|Awards||The Medalla de la Orden del Quinto Centenario (meaning: the "Medal of the Order of the 5th Century") in 1987.|
Tomás Batista (born 1935) is one of Puerto Rico's greatest sculptors. He is the creator of some of Puerto Rico's most famous monuments.
Batista (birth name: Tomás Batista Encarnación[note 1]) was born and raised in Luquillo, Puerto Rico, a town located in the northeastern coast of Puerto Rico. His family was poor but, despite the fact that his family's economic situation wasn't a good one, he did well in school and was able to finish high school. His family recognized that their son had talent as an artist at a young age. After graduating from high school, he moved to San Juan to continue his education. There he met and went to work with the Spanish artist, Angel Botello. In 1955, while working with Botello, Batista discovered that he had a natural talent to work with the restoration process in wood. He learned from Botello the secrets of restoration and how to work with gold on wood. In 1957, he realized his first work of art, the Crucifixion.
In 1958, Batista was awarded a grant and studied sculptoring at the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture under the direction of the Maestro Compostela. Batista also studied art in La Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes La Esmeralda in Mexico, on a Guggenheim fellowship in 1960 and in the Instituto de Cultura Hispánica in Spain. In 1966, he was named director of the Department of Sculpture and Restoration of the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture. In 1972, Batista spent a year in Spain, where he created the busts of Eugenio María de Hostos and Ramón Emeterio Betances.
He created is Monumento al Jíbaro Puertorriqueño (Monument to the Common Puerto Rican Countryman) in Cayey. In this monument Batista reflects the humbleness and hard working nature of the typical Puerto Rican farmer and his family. The monument is located by the Luis A. Ferré Highway in Cayey.
Among Batista's other works are the sculptures of Julia de Burgos in Carolina, Hayuya in Jayuya, and Rafael Hernández in Bayamón plus many more. In 1993, he unveiled the monument of the Cacique Loguillo which is located in his hometown.
Awards and recognition
Amongst his many awards and recognitions includes the second place prize in sculpture in the Concurso Esso para artistas jóvenes held in San Juan in November 1964. His stone sculpture, "Caracol," subsequently traveled to Washington, DC, where it was part of the Puerto Rican delegation in the Esso Salon of Young Artists, a contest held in 1965 for young Latin American artists sponsored by the Pan American Union and Esso. In 1976, he was named "The Most Outstanding Young Man in Puerto Rico" by the Junior Chamber of Commerce. In 1987 Batista was awarded the Medalla de la Orden del Quinto Centenario (meaning: the "Medal of the Order of the 5th Century"), in commemoration of Puerto Rico being discovered by Christopher Columbus.
The City of Bayamón is the sponsor of Batista's work with a permanent exposition in the Salón Batista. In 1991, a permanent exhibition of his works was also established in his native city of Luquillo. Tomás Batista's works of art are found in museums in Puerto Rico, New York and Washington, D.C., and also in private collections. Tomás Batista currently travels around the island and abroad giving conferences about his art.
|El Monumento al jíbaro Puertorriqueño||Sculpture of Cacique Hayuya|
- http://netdial.caribe.net/~abatista/tbatista.htm Tomas Batista
- "1960 Latin American and Caribbean Fellows", Guggenheim Foundation
- Puerto Rico
- Concurso Esso para artistas jóvenes, exh. cat.,(San Juan, Puerto Rico: Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, November 1964); ESSO SALON OF YOUNG ARTISTS/SALONG ESSO DE ARTISTAS JOVENES. Sponsored by the Pan-American Union and Esso, (Washington, DC: Pan-American Union, 1965).