In a rustic as racially numerous as Cuba, it’s stunning that, for a very long time, Afro Cuban artwork was not appeared upon as fascinating. After the revolution, Santeria and different African non secular and cultural practices have been deemed primitive and counter-revolutionary. This was particularly the case within the 70s, throughout a interval of extreme censorship in all areas of creative and cultural life on the island.

In 1978, a gaggle of artists rebelled towards the state censorship and fashioned an artwork collective beneath the identify Grupo Antillano. Regardless that the group was energetic for less than 5 years, it helped set up Afro Cuban artwork as a part of nationwide identification. Most members of the group have been painters – Adelaida Herrera Valdés, Julia Valdés, Manuel Mendive, Leonel Morales, Miguel Lobaina, Ever Fonseca, Clara Morera, Manuel Couceiro Prado, Arnaldo Rodríguez Larrinaga, Pablo Toscano Mora, Miguel Ocejo, and sculptors – Herminio Escalona Gonzales, Rogelio Rodríguez Cobas, Ramón Haití, Rafael Queneditt Morales, Alberto Lescay Merencio, Oscar Rodríguez Lasseria, with Esteban Ayala Ferrer working primarily in graphic design. The principle driving drive of this artist collective was Wilfredo Lam, a world famend painter of African and Chinese language descent. The primary exhibit of Grupo Antillano was held in September of 1978 in Galería Centro de Arte Internacional, with seven extra to observe in the identical 12 months. Within the subsequent 4 years, the group exhibited all through Cuba and internationally. Shortly after Lam’s dying in September of 1982, Grupo Antillano ceased to exist as an artist collective and their final group exhibit was an Homage to Wilfredo Lam in September of 1983.

A retrospective exhibit beneath the identify “Drapetomanía: Grupo Antillano and the Artwork of Afro-Cuba”, curated by Harvard professor Alejandro de la Fuente, first opened in Santiago de Cuba in April 2013, continued on to Havana in August of the identical 12 months, within the Spring of 2014 will probably be on show in New York, within the Fall of 2014 in San Francisco and within the Spring of 2015 in Harvard College. Apart from showcasing works of unique members of Grupo Antillano, the exhibit additionally consists of works by a youthful technology of artists who share the identical issues with the unique members – problems with historical past, identification and race. The group of latest artists invited to take part on this retrospective consists of Belkis Ayón, José Bedia, Eduardo Roca Salazar (Choco), Juan Roberto Diago, Douglas Pérez, Elio Rodríguez Valdés, Alexis Esquivel, Andrés Montalván Cuéllar, Santiago Rodríguez Olazabal, René Peña, Marta María Pérez Bravo and Leandro Soto.

All of those artists – the unique members of Grupo Antillano, in addition to up to date Afro Cuban artists, are serving to promote this vital side of Cuban nationwide identification, in visible arts and on a regular basis life. By way of their artwork, which is significantly influenced by African roots of many Cubans, they present us the essence of the distinctive and continuously evolving Cubanidad*.

* An idea that originated within the 1920s to clarify the multicultural and the multicolored folks of Cuba.

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