Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cuban artists on racism in Cuba

For years now, I've been writing about the harsh racist attitudes and realities of contemporary Cuban society in Cuba's "Worker's Paradise". And a while back I barked at the Congressional Black Caucus' spectacular ignorance of the plight and long history of oppression of Afro-Cubans by a long line of racist Cuban governments, including the Castro brothers' never-ending brutal dictatorship.

I sent a copy of this post and commentary to every single member of the Congressional Black Caucus; not a single one responded.

And now, a traveling art exhibition, by Cuban artists, partially showcases what I have been talking about for a long time:

"Rebellion is in the air. Whether in the cities of Africa and the Middle East, or within disparate communities of artists, people are examining the current status of human rights and finding it lacking.

While street crowds are forcing political change, the liter­ati are prodding more benign conversation about perceived inequities.

A case in point is the taboo-bashing exhibition "Queloides: Race & Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art" at the Mattress Factory. "Queloides" translates as "keloids," protruding scars caused by trauma, which exhibition curators apply to the wounds racism has inflicted upon the body politic."

Armando Marino's The Raft, part of the Queloides exhibit at the Mattress Factory - Photo by Tom Little

Armando Marino's The Raft, part of the Queloides exhibit at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh - Photo by Tom Little

Read the review by Mary Thomas, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, here.

11 comments:

Rodrigo said...

Depressed to see that some of these
artists are borrowing images from
James Kerry Marshall, whom I thing
is a supurb artist.

Lenny said...

More info please?

Rodrigo said...

The black silhouette figures.

Lenny said...

Do you mean the work by Belkis Ayon?

Rodrigo said...

That is one, but there is another.

Rodrigo said...

Esquivel is the other one. I read
you regularly. Great Stuff.

B

Rodrigo said...

I don't see my other post. Here it
goes again. The other artist is
Esquivel.
B

Lenny said...

I don't know about Esquivel, but those nanigo etchings are Belkys Ayon's signature work, and she's probably one of the best-known and more widely collected Cuban artists around.

Her imagery is based on Cuban nanigos (mostly) and Afro-Cuban imagery. I suspect she didn't even know (she committed suicide a few years ago) who James Kerry Marshall was.

LC

Anonymous said...

Cubans are protesting their brutal dictatorship as well. Reyna Tamayo Danger and the Ladies in White have been getting beat up for months now and the American press ignores it while the European press continues to highlight the quiet revolution being kick-started by these mothers and gradmothers who are sick and tired of the yoke of the Castro brothers.

Rodrigo said...

I have seem Ayon's work before and
was surprised at the similarities.
Maybe the Egyptian uprising, which
appears as if the people just won, could serve as an example/model.

B

Hans Kortlevers said...

This statue is great. It both looks good, and delivers the message.