Artist Talk with Nicaraguan Printmaker Carlos Barberena

Author: Joseph Trinidad

Carlos Barberena Presentation

As part of the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Institute for Latino Studies welcomed Carlos Barberena to the University of Notre Dame.

Barberena is a contemporary Nicaraguan printmaker best known for his images relating to pop culture, as well as his political and cultural commentaries. As a result of his talent, Barberena has received numerous awards including “The Elizabeth Catlett Memorial Award” in 2021 from the University of Iowa and “Best in Show-PrintAustin: The Contemporary Print” in 2023. His talents have crossed multiple borders, allowing him to display his art in countries like France, Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, Nicaragua, and the United States of America.

Mr. Barberena delivered a heartwarming presentation to faculty, students, and friends who gathered to learn and celebrate his inspiring life story and how he evolved from being a refugee in Costa Rica to now running Bandolero Press in the city of Chicago as well as being a core member of the Instituto Grafico de Chicago. During his presentation, he showcased the most meaningful and impactful pieces that he has created throughout his lifetime.

Carlos Barberena Talk

During his presentation, Barberena mentioned one of the reasons behind his pursuit of painting, photography, and later on, printmaking: “Growing up in a family that always pushed us to incorporate art into our life”.

When sharing about his past as a refugee in Costa Rica and the multiple struggles that he has had to face throughout his life Barberena commented that “even though doors keep closing, you must continue to open new ones. One new door that Barberena has helped open relates to the future of printmaking: “I feel very happy to see the progress of my prints and how far along I’ve come as well as having the opportunity of sharing my experiences and mistakes with the new generation”.

Notre Dame Senior, Emma Newcome, as well as other students, had a very positive experience with Barberena's presentation. “I enjoyed this presentation,” Newcome said when asked about Barberena’s talk. She shared that his life experiences are “inspiring” and that his prints are “creative” and “impactful”.

When asked about his vision for the future, Barena shared that he will continue to do prints and hopes to expand the medium further. Most importantly, he stated that “you start to provide space for new generations of artists in order to make an up-to-date view on the current issues and to avoid the comfort zone”.

Carlos Barberena Print Shop

Currently, Barderena continues to further his impact on our world by running Bandolero Press and La Calaca Press in Chicago as well as being a member of the Instituto Graphico de Chicago.