In the Fall of 2008, Ramón Figueroa, Associate Professor of Spanish at Millsaps College in Mississippi, donated his personal collection of Mexican and Cuban film posters to the University of Florida Smathers Libraries Popular Culture Collection, in honor of Efraín Barradas (LAS/Spanish and Portuguese Studies), his former professor and friend. Due to Figueroa’s gift, UF now holds the largest public collection of Mexican movie posters in the United States.
In February 2009, a $4500 mini-grant was received for conservation, digitization and metadata creation for the collection.
When asked about his collection (on the Millsaps College webpage), Figueroa had this to say:
"I suppose it all starts with my growing up in the Caribbean, where Mexico is one of the
great cultural centers even today, and even more so in the 1970’s. I grew up with
Mexican soap operas, comics, music and films, but they were so naturalized that I was
never curious about their country of origin because they seem such a normal part of my
world. When I finally made it to Mexico in 1989 I, like so many other people before, fell
in love with the culture.
I acquired mostly Mexican masks and pottery until 1994, when I moved to posters. I
must add that this collection would not exist without Ebay. I made almost all of my
purchases through this service, and I got to know collectors from the United States,
Mexico, Spain and France. The posters are a great expression of a time when Mexico
made an investment in popular culture as a way to promote the values and virtues that
would unify society and consolidate the power of the system. I think it is very interesting
that some of the poster artists (such as Josep Renau or Ernesto García Cabral) were also
muralists. There is research to be done on the Mexican poster as an example of the
aesthetic cohesiveness of government sponsored art in Mexico before the sixties.
The Cuban posters are a secondary area of interest but as I collected them, I was responding to the same influences I experienced growing up. After the revolution, Cuba
became a social model for the people of my generation, and Cuban culture, which has
always been a great force in my country, grew even more dominant. As it was the case in
Mexico before 1960, the Cuban revolutionary government became a great sponsor of
popular culture for propagandistic reasons. The power of the cultural products of the
Cuban revolution in Latin America is undeniable. It is very interesting that as different
as the Mexican and Cuban posters are visually, their images are indicative of similar
View the entire Efraín Barradas Collection of Mexican and Cuban Film Posters: given by Ramón Figueroa.