[Pnews] Painter, Poet and Former Puerto Rican Political Prisoner - Elizam Escobar - Presente!

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 18 23:23:48 EST 2021

*//Hasta Siempre Commandante Elizam Escobar!*
*The wake of the painter and poet, Elizam Escobar Ortiz will be 
Thursday, January 21 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Casa de los 
Contraertes, San Sebastian street in Old San Juan*
Press Release
January 18, 2021
*Celebration for the life and work of Master and Patriot Elizam Escobar 
The nation has lost a brave son.
Elizam Escobar Ortiz, painter, poet, patriot, intellectual, who died 
January 15th after a long battle with cancer will be viewed at the House 
of Contrafuertes, San Sebastian Street, Old San Juan, this Thursday 21 
January between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Complying with a permit granted for the celebration of the wake, all 
protocols will be followed in compliance with strict Covid prevention 
Elizam was born in Ponce on May 25, 1948 to his parents Eliphet Escobar 
Torres and Deadina Ortiz de Jesus. After participatuing in the anti-war 
/ anti-conscription movement at the University of Puerto Rico in the 
60s, and the Liga Socialista Puertorriquena, he moved to New York, where 
he taught art and participated in the Progressive Labor Party. He 
graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a Fine Arts degree.
In 1980, he was arrested in Evanston, Illinois, along with other Puerto 
Rican patriots, convicted of seditious conspiracy, and sentenced to 68 
years in prison. In his 20 years in American prisons, he not only 
painted prolifically - exhibitions of his art were a key part of the 
campaign for the release of Puerto Rican political prisoners - but he 
studied philosophy, wrote essays and poetry, maintained vigorous 
correspondence with artists, poets and intellectuals, and exhibited his 
art in several countries.
Together with other Puerto Rican political prisoners, he was released 
from prison in 1999, when Bill Clinton commuted their sentences as 
unjust and disproportionate. He returned, with several of his 
colleagues, to Puerto Rico, where they were all received as heroic 
independentistas. The School of Plastic Arts immediately recruited him 
as a painting teacher, where he taught close to 20 years, until he was 
forced to stop because of his health challenges.
His many personal and work accomplishments, include an honorary masters 
degree from the School of Plastic Arts, the dedication of La Campechada 
in 2016, the International Association of Art Critics award in 2013 for 
the best retrospective exhibition, and the Pen Club award in 1999 for 
best essay anthology - a book written and published while in prison.
Defying cancer and its impact, Elizam always kept an incredible spirit, 
contagious sense of humor, and an appetite for joy. His vast collection 
of hats and shoes are proof of it.
He dedicated himself to art until the day of his death, leaving many 
projects unfulfilled. His dream was to turn his home and workshop into a 
museum, cultural and research center. His family will be dedicated to 
realizing that dream.
He is survived by Abigail Schlaifer Talcott and two grandchildren 
Raphael Francis and Beatrice James; his brother Eliud Escobar Ortiz 
(Elizabeth Perez and Eliseliz and Eliza ínn), his sister Rosario Escobar 
Ortiz (Inamar, Elipphelet and Esther); his partner Yolanda Guerrios, Jan 
Susler, and an extended family of fellow political prisoners, the 
independence movement, and the artistic community.
Yolanda Guerrios (787) 565-7069
Jan Susler, (773) 252-4049
[More on Elizam's life - on the pages below from various Puerto Rican 
newspaper websites [a tab should come up in the upper right hand corner 
offering you Spanish or English versions]:

  * Elizam Escobar: the fight by bicycle and in art
  * The cultural and artistic sector mourns the death of Elizam Escobar
  * Pedaling into eternity: in memory of Elizam Escobar
  * Artist and political activist Elizam Escobar passes away
  * Elizam Escobar wake will be public
  * We are in the future !: on Poetic work (1980-2016) by Elizam Escobar

 From the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Chicago:


This image is of Elizam Escobar during a visit to Batey Urbano

*In Memoriam,*

Today, we mourn the physical loss of our beloved patriot and consummate 
artist Elizam Escobar: but forever we should celebrate his many gifts to 
our lives and most importantly that Elizam lived life to its fullest 
until his final moments. From the days of exposing the secret imperial 
project called Plan 2020 in 1976 along with his teacher Juan Antonio 
Corretjer, to his sacrificial feat of two decades of political 
incarceration, to his commitment to the political freedom of Puerto 
Rico, to his unique artistic expressions, to his riveting wordsmithing 
and poetry; from his amazing, engaging teaching skills, to his deep 
philosophical conversations, Elizam left so much for us to continue to 
ponder the major questions of the human experience. As he once said “Yo 
creo que el arte es una respuesta a la muerte porque es la forma de 
mantener vivo todas las pasiones, las contradicciones, los logros de la 
humanidad, el aprecio por todo, por la naturaleza, por el mar, por el 

There is no doubt in my mind that Elizam’s epitaph could best be 
expressed in the words of Corretjer “en la mesa del dolor del mundo, 
edité mi proyecto de vida”

Elizam was truly an iconic figure of Puerto Rican art, politics, and 
letters. In words and in deeds he lived the change that he struggled 
for. I am convinced that he could state as the great Mexican muralist 
Diego Rivera once said “por mi raza hablara mi espiritu”.

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