Humboldt Park museum showcases work of legendary Puerto Rican painter Rafael Tufiño

An exhibit at The National Museum of Puerto Rican Art and Culture in Humboldt Park features work never-before-seen in Chicago.

The exhibit, titled "Celebrating 100 years of Rafael Tufiño," is considered a great get.

"We are so excited to have this exhibit here. It's an exhibit we worked on with the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture.... They haven't done an exhibit outside of Puerto Rico in almost 25 years, but this exhibit has never left the island of Puerto Rico," said museum director Billy Ocasio.

The exhibit features posters and paintings by a man known as "the people's painter".

"So the division of education out of Puerto Rico needed to get the word out to the various country sides and the rural areas whenever they had an event coming up. So what they would do is they would have him do posters, and these posters would be plastered all over the island," Ocasio said.

"The exhibition features 39 paintings drawings ... and highlights various aspects of Tufiño's life including his role as a teacher, his artistic style, his experiences in San Juan," according to the announcement, which was sent out when the exhibit opened in September.

"A lot of his paintings were of his family and his cat, but he drew everything," Ocasio said. "He drew the history of Puerto Rico. He drew the uprisings of Puerto Rico. He talked about the life of people in Puerto Rico."

Now, the paintings are on display, free of charge, in the heart of Chicago's Puerto Rican neighborhood at the national museum through Aug. 31, 2024.